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Italian Cruise Ship Runs Aground

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The Costa Concordia after it ran aground 11 Dead, Dozens Injured

The Costa Concordia, an Italian luxury liner, hit a reef and capsized at Isola del Giglio in Tuscany last Friday (Jan. 13), resulting in at least eleven deaths and 64 injuries.  The crash was the largest of a passenger ship in history by tonnage. 

While the cause of the crash is currently being investigated, it is believed that a major cause may have been human error by ship captain Francesco Schettino. Schettino is accused of taking the boat too close to shore, and far off the programmed route for the cruise.  Several passengers remain missing and unaccounted for, and several passengers were rescued after being trapped in the ship after the initial evacuation.

The Concordia was the largest ship built in Italy when it was constructed in 2006 by Costa Cruises, a cruise provider which operates primarily in Italy.  Costa Cruises is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Carnival Cruises, whose CEO and Chairman is Israeli-American Micky Arison.  Arison has presided over the cruise line since 1990.  Carnival was started by his father, Ted Arison, and Micky has helped turn the company into the largest cruise provider in the world.  According to Forbes, Arison is worth $4.2 billion as of 2011 and is the 169th richest person in the world.  Arison also owns the NBA’s Miami Heat.

In addition to Costa, Carnival Cruises counts among its subsidiaries Holland America, Princess Cruises, Seabourn Cruises, and Ibero Cruises.  Shares for the Carnival Group dropped almost 20% after trading opened on January 16, after the news that the crash would cost the group up to $95 million.  The cruise line has insurance for damage to the ship with a deductable of about $30 million in addition to insurance for third party personal injury liability with a deductable of about $10 million.

Four Israelis were believed to be on the Concordia when it crashed, none of whom were among the deceased.  In a statement, Arison said that “We are deeply saddened by this tragic event and our hearts go out to everyone affected by the grounding of the Costa Concordia and especially to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives.”

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