Today, with the sad news that several passengers and crew of Costa Concordia have been lost at sea, I must reexamine the faith I put in others while traveling.
I am saddened by the Costa tragedy and all the families of those lost and those who survived a horrific experience are in my thoughts.
It's difficult to second-guess the situation when hard facts are still being determined but these questions definitely come to my mind...
- Why did the captain wait so long before issuing a mayday?
- Why didn't the captain and executive officers communicate more effectively with fellow crew and passengers in the early moments of the disaster?
- Why didn't the captain order all passengers to go to their cabins to put on warm clothes, grab their passports and medication, and then head to their muster stations?
- Why did the crew seem less than prepared for evacuating the vessel?
- Why did the captain leave the boat before making sure all passengers and crew had been evacuated?
We'll learn more in the days and months ahead, but how will this accident change the way you think about cruising?
As I said earlier, I love this method of travel and it would take a lot for me to shun the industry. Despite this accident, cruise travel is historically a very safe way to travel. (Check out Cruise Junkie's excellent website that details cruise ship accidents and illness reports.)
However, I will think more carefully about the cruise lines that I trust my safety to and why. I'll also be more cognizant of my own personal emergency plans (i.e., always carrying a copy of my passport on my person along with some cash and a credit card).
It's troubling that this incident causes us to question the faith we put into our ship's captain, executive officers, crew, and cruise line home office. There are so many well-trained and caring cruise ship employees.
I can only hope that this incident sparks conversation and that cruise companies make a renewed commitment to ship safety and training protocols. What happened aboard Costa Concordia is a wake-up call and it's up to each of us to press cruise lines to improve safety practices.