Questions mount in South Korean ferry disaster; hundreds still missing

Jindo, South Korea (CNN) — Anguished relatives of missing South Korean ferry passengers waited somberly for answers Thursday as rescuers fought bad weather, murky water, darkness and time to find a way deep into the capsized ship.

Authorities believe 276 people — many of them high school students on a field trip — may remain trapped inside the five-story ship. At least some, authorities say, could still be alive more than a day after the ship rolled over.

Meanwhile, the ferry’s captain is facing mounting questions about the incident.

Among other things, authorities are investigating the possibility the ship was off course when it ran into trouble, as well as reports that few of its lifeboats made it into the water, according to Kim Soo Hyeon, the chief of South Korea’s Yellow Sea Maritime Police Agency.

Ferry captain Lee Joon Suk, his head and face covered, broke down in tears when reporters asked if he had anything to say.

“I am sorry, I am at a loss for words,” Lee said at a South Korean Coast Guard office.

At least 20 people are known dead, according to the South Korean Ministry of Security and Public Administration. As of Thursday night, at least 179 had been rescued.

Weather hinders rescue

More than 170 ships and 512 divers have swarmed the ferry about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Jindo, South Korea, harbor where relatives have gathered.

But poor conditions have kept rescuers from reaching parts of the ship where air pockets could be sustaining survivors, authorities said.

Can they survive in air pockets?

Relentless rain, whipping winds and thick fog stymied rescue efforts Thursday. Three of the 22 volunteer divers who joined the search went missing in high tide but were later found, YTN said.

Efforts to pump air into the ship also failed because of the bad weather.

Despite government assurances that rescuers would work around the clock to save lives, some relatives were angry about the pace of the rescue operation.

“If the government cares for the people, our family, our children, please rescue our families and our children,” said Chang Min, whose second-grade son is among the missing.

‘Don’t move’

The ferry, which is designed to carry cargo and vehicles as well as passengers, was on a routine passage between Incheon and the resort island of Jeju when something went awry shortly before 9 a.m. Wednesday.
On board were more than 300 Seoul high school students and teachers on a four-day trip to the island.

Questions mount in South Korean ferry disaster; hundreds still missing CNN
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Official: Costa Concordia Captain Twice Refused to Reboard Ship

The captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that crashed off the coast of Italy two years ago twice refused to go back on the vessel while it was at risk of sinking.

That’s what an official who coordinated the rescue of the passengers testified in court Monday during the trial of Capt. Francesco Schettino, who stands accused of manslaughter and abandoning ship.

Police official Carlo Galli said Schettino insisted he needed to coordinate the rescue from shore rather than climb back on board. This, despite international law that dictates a captain should be the last to leave a sinking ship.
Costa Concordia Captain Twice Refused to Reboard Ship WPRO Talk Radio

300 become ill on cruise ship

Royal Caribbean is singlehandedly killing your faint remaining desire to still take a cruise after the Costa Concordia. 300 passenger and crew members were suffering from vomiting and diarrhea as the ship sailed into San Juan, Puerto Rico on Saturday. It’s the the second major health incident for the cruise line in just a month. The Center for Disease Control is investigating, and the ship is being sanitized, thankfully.

300 become ill on cruise ship CNN Travel

Carnival says former Costa Cruises CEO retiring

Carnival Corp. said Tuesday that the former CEO of Costa Cruises, the company behind the Concordia disaster, is retiring.

Costa owns the Concordia cruise ship that capsized off the central Italian coast in early 2012. Pier Luigi Foschi was CEO at Costa Cruises when the Concordia slammed into a reef off the Tuscan island of Giglio with more than 4,000 people on board. Thirty-two people died.

Carnival said Tuesday that Foschi, 67, is retiring after 16 years with the company. Foschi retired as Costa Cruises CEO six months after the Concordia disaster. Parent company Carnival later named him head of its business in Asia.

Carnival says former Costa Cruises CEO retiring Beaumont Enterprise

Italian Police Detain Somali in Migrant Shipwreck

Police in Sicily have detained a 34-year-old Somali alleged to be the organizer behind the smugglers’ ship packed with migrants that sank off the coast of a southern Italian island, killing more than 365 migrants.

Police on Friday announced the detention of Mouhamud Elmi Muhidin, who faces charges of kidnapping, sexual assault, people trafficking and criminal association with the goal of aiding illegal immigration. The suspect was identified by survivors.

Italian Police Detain Somali in Migrant Shipwreck ABC News

Costa Concordia trial

  • 32 people were killed when Costa Concordia hit rocks off Tuscany, Jan 2012
  • Captain Francesco Schettino is charged with dereliction of duty and multiple counts of manslaughter
  • Court heard Domnica Cemortan, dancer on the ship’s bridge, was his lover
  • She said she boarded the Costa Concordia as a non-paying passenger
  • If found guilty of the charges Francesco Schettino will face 20 years in jail

The dancer who was on the bridge when the Costa Concordia cruise ship hit a reef killing 32 people, has admitted at the captain’s manslaughter trial that they were lovers. Domnica Cemortan also told the Italian court that she boarded as a non-paying passenger hours before the crash near the island of Giglio, saying: ‘When you are someone’s lover no one asks you for a ticket.’ She dismissed the remark as a joke to her translator.

Moldovan Miss Cemortan said she had worked on the Concordia for three weeks in December 2011. The Moldovan dancer admitted she was Captain Francesco Schettino’s lover and boarded the Costa Concordia without a ticket The Moldovan dancer admitted she was Captain Francesco Schettino’s lover and boarded the Costa Concordia without a ticket She tried to dodge the question of whether she was romantically involved with captain Francesco Schettino, and only responded positively after being told she risked criminal charges for refusing to reply. Earlier the trial heard that the ship hit the reef after Schettino was disappointed at not getting close enough to it on an earlier attempt, his trial has been told.



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Drowning on Cruise Ship

A Carnival Cruise ship suffered a casualty on October 14 when Qwentyn Hunter, a six year old Winter Garden boy who had been swimming with his ten year old brother, drowned in the pool.

Six year old Qwentyn could not be revived. He had been a client of Ariza Talent and Modeling Agency.

The cruise was returning from the Caribbean.

Carnival Cruise Lines Victory does not have lifeguards. There’s no law requiring cruise ship lifeguards, though the lack is a controversial topic. A parent was at the pool at the time of the accidental drowning.


Costa Concordia: mammoth salvage effort could break records

As the colossal Costa Concordia cruise ship is raised from the waters off the Italian island of Giglio, engineers are bearing witness to the most complicated task of its kind in maritime history. The 114,500-ton vessel, which capsized in January 2012, killing 32 people, is twice the size of the Titanic. And turning it upright to haul it to land has never been tried before with a vessel this size and so close to the shore. The operation has been eyed by environmentalists, who worry that a toxic waste spill could pollute the Mediterranean waters around the island. It has also raised eyebrows for its price tag: 600 million euros and counting, in an age of austerity.The lifting of the vessel is expected to take all day today, and engineers have already reported that they successfully separated from ship from the reef on which it has been lying. Hopes are high that the salvage effort will not cause the boat to break apart in the process.

Costa Concordia: mammoth salvage effort could break records Christian Science Monitor

Costa Concordia finally lifted upright after months of preparation

Off the Italian coast, they started early Monday morning to pull the wrecked cruise ship Costa Concordia off rocks and into an upright position.

This really was an operation of titanic proportions. It took months of preparations, hundreds of workers, and in the end, 19 hours of pulling power.

But finally at four o’clock in the morning, the Costa Concordia was pulled back to its upright position.

It really looks like a ghost ship that emerged from the seas and now is ready to set sail.

Costa Concordia finally lifted upright after months of preparation NECN.com