Happy Martin Luther King Day.
I interrupt my regularly scheduled programming to bring you an update on the latest international maritime disaster: the sinking of a huge ship. It has been confirmed that there were American citizens aboard, but we don’t yet know which of the 57 states they are from.
In an unprecedented case of gross malfeasance, it appears that the Captain of the giant cruise ship, Costa Concordia, purposely ordered his crew to CHANGE course, in a maritime version of a fly-by for entertainment purposes:
“Questions also swirled about why the ship had navigated so close to the dangerous reefs and rocks that jut out off Giglio's eastern coast, amid suspicions the captain might have ventured too close while carrying out a maneuver to entertain tourists on the island."
As a result of steering the ship off-course, it unexpectedly hit a reef. (Captain Shettino insists these rocks where “uncharted” so most likely the result of sabotage, and additionally accused his helmsman of acting stupidly by getting too close to the uncharted rocks.) When the ship hit the reef it ripped a large, gapping hole in the hull of his ship, breaching its integrity. At this point the giant ocean-faring vessel started taking on ballast, listing dangerously portside (left); which is to say, it was sinking.
There are reports from passengers that during the initial stages of the emergency the Captain received numerous calls from the crew advising of the situation, yet he remained at his table in the state dining room conversing with guests, drinking wine and demanding that his crew maneuver the ship off the reef RIGHT AWAY! They continued to provide him with damage reports, even though it was clear that he just wanted to be left alone to eat his waffle.
An official mayday was not issued until much later, at which time the Captain had given up all HOPE of righting the ship. Due to there being more uncharted rocks in the reef than he knew about, the damage was greater than anticipated. At that point, the breached hull had simply allowed too much water in and it was clear that all aboard were in imminent danger.
Experts are still analyzing the ship's black box, which has already revealed a one-hour lag between the time of the impact on the rocks at 9:45 p.m. local time Friday and the ship's alarm call to the coast guard at about 10:43 p.m. Investigators suspect Schettino tried to maneuver the ship before alerting coast guard, the Italian news outlet Ansa reported.
Meanwhile, passengers with a vantage point closer to the water line could clearly see the listing to port and some could even see the damage that had been inflicted. They knew that they were in danger and began insisting that the crew help them launch the lifeboats. The crew was confused, they were getting conflicting information and orders through the chain of command. At first they tried to persuade the passengers that they were in no danger despite all evidence to the contrary. But by now the damage was so severe and so obvious that the passengers were clinging, bitterly, to their life vests and religion. By the time the crew was officially enlisted to launch the lifeboats the giant ship was listing so far portside that it was no longer possible to deploy them.
Now there was complete panic amongst the passengers, many of whom seemed helpless as they had never contemplated such a scenario being possible on such a huge, stable ship. They simply couldn’t believe their ship was actually sinking right before their eyes!
As the inevitability of the situation became perfectly clear however, the Captain, who had been entrusted with the safety of his passengers and crew, abandoned ship ahead of many of the survivors. He insisted to the press that was not the case:
Schettino insisted he didn't leave the liner early, telling Mediaset television that he had done everything he could to save lives. "We were the last ones to leave the ship," he said.
The Captain’s veracity is called into question though, as 3 more people were rescued 2 days after he made that comment, and 16 people still unaccounted for. But as they say: “who ya gonna believe – me or your lyin’ eyes?”
When interviewed from the safety of the island that many passengers had managed to swim to, several stated that instead of booking passage on the cruise ship, they wished they had just taken the intercontinental railroad.
Seriously: can you ever imagine such a thing happening to an American ship? That’s simply not the way we act – that’s simply not who we are.
“(Captain) Sullenberger walked the unflooded part of the passenger cabin twice to make sure everyone had evacuated before retrieving the plane's maintenance logbook and being the last to evacuate the aircraft.”
Ask yourself this next November: are you voting for someone more like Captain Sully, or someone more like Captain Shettino? The Ship of State is sending an S.O.S.. It requires a better response than “WTF”.
BO, George and Tiny Tim finally send an S.O.S. but it may be too late.Don’t worry, “We are on correct path comrades!” H/T Vereteno
Regularly scheduled programming resumes tomorrow, including complete coverage of the Golden Globes.