To the Editor:
As a former naval officer, officer-of-the deck underway, independent and formation steaming and qualified marine navigator and instructor, I have questions concerning the grounding of the cruise ship Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy.
Was the captain on the bridge exercising control of the ship? If so, why was the ship so close to the rocks? If not, who was on the bridge conning the ship? What were their qualifications? Was there a maritime pilot on the bridge? The most dangerous period in peacetime for a ship underway is when it is leaving and entering port or traversing in close proximity to land. This is when you have to be on full alert.
Why did the Costa Concordia only hold emergency evacuation drills once every fifteen days? During a fifteen-day period the ship would normally visit a number of ports and embark new passengers. A drill should be held prior to leaving every port.
The maritime industry should evaluate the viability of lifeboat systems which fail when a ship takes on a significant list that makes it very difficult or impossible to launch lifeboats.
More attention must be paid to the safety of passengers and crew.
Donald A. Moskowitz