Carnival Corp’s COSTA CONCORDIA and other tragedies at sea. The SS MORRO CASTLE…

Cruise and Liner History… Our thanks to and Mark Perry for this excellent video: The SS Morro Castle was launched in 1930, and had her maiden voyage from New York to Havana in August of that year. Only four short years later, a mysterious fire broke out on board that has never been explained, rapidly spreading throughout the liner and forcing the evacuation of her passengers in lifeboats. Of the 555 people on board, 133 lost their lives. Featured here are 16mm home movies from that period, the first being “Sandy Sails Morro Castle” for the sail away footage, followed by amateur movies of the ship still burning on the beach in New Jersey. This video is dedicated to those who lost their lives in this terrible tragedy.

Latest on Carnival Corp’s COSTA CONCORDIA…. Russians bribe crew members to get ashore… Micky Arison’s Carnival Corp tried to offer survivors a 30% discount on future cruises…

Passengers climb off the stricken COSTA CONCORDIA… life boats proved useless…

Wealthy Russians ‘bribed crew with fistfuls of cash to skip lifeboat queue’

THE captain of the stricken cruise liner Costa Concordia may have been “distracted” by too many people being on the ship’s bridge, it has emerged, as two more bodies were recovered from the wreckage.

The revelation about Captain Francesco Schettino was made by third-in-command Silvia Coronika in a statement to investigators, who said Schettino took the disastrous course by showboating, to impress the head waiter of the ship.

Two more bodies were recovered from the ship capsized off the Italian coast yesterday, bringing the death toll to fifteen, as divers continue their grim search.

Bodies of the two women were found in the internet cafe in a submerged section of the ship and were located after further holes had been blown into the superstructure of the Concordia by navy divers.
Last week, it emerged that purser Antonello Tievoli, head waiter, had been invited on to the bridge by the skipper as the ship sailed past his home island of Giglio. There have also been suggestions that Costa cruises rep Domnica Cemortan, 24, may have also been close by on the command deck.

In response to questioning by prosecutors Ms Coronika said: “The people on the bridge who arrived with Schettino were a disturbance to the sailing.” She went on: “There was such a lot of confusion and my recollection is a little unclear because of all the chaos from the shouting and the various messages that were going backwards and forwards.”

Ms Coronika described how the Concordia captain was distracted and said: “I just want to say that there was a number of people present on the bridge with Schettino and who were not relevant to sailing the ship, including the purser.

“There were people asking what island it was, the purser was chatting away, in short they were disturbing the navigation of the ship and it led to a drop in attention.”
Schettino has claimed that his bosses ordered him to carry out the “sail-by salute” as a publicity stunt and that it had been advertised in the ship’s newsletter.
Meanwhile Italian prosecutors are investigating claims from eyewitnesses to the evacuation that wealthy Russian passengers aboard the Concordia “bought” places in lifeboats ahead of women, children and the elderly.
The prosecutors have allegedly taken evidence from some passengers that “the disabled were left to fend for themselves” as well-off Russians thrust bundles of money into the hands of eager crewmen as the ship listed and began to sink.

Franca Anichini, 52, who lives directly on the harbour on the island of Giglio where evacuees from the ship were brought after the disaster on 13 January, said: “I went to the boats as I saw them coming in expecting to see women, children and the injured but all I saw were healthy men and elegant women in evening gowns who were speaking Russian.”

Dramatic testimony also came from engine room chief Giuseppe Pilon: “I heard some loud bangs and at first thought they were the cages moving in the luggage hold. I went to the central control room and asked an officer what was happening and he just shouted back ‘There’s water, there’s water.’

“I said to control that the watertight doors were shut as they should have been. I just managed to get the words out and then there was a total blackout.”

He went on: “I told Schettino the situation, telling him the engine room and the back, the electric circuits and the stern decks. I told him that we had lost control of the ship. I told him of the seriousness of the situation several times afterwards.”

Discovery of the women’s bodies came minutes after Franco Gabrielli, the commissioner in charge of the rescue effort, confirmed that the ship was stable and there was no danger of it slipping from the rock shelf.


About Michael L. Grace

MICHAEL L. GRACE is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. SNOOPY continues to be one of the most produced shows (amateur & stock) in America/Worldwide and has had long running productions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in London's West End. There are over 100 individual productions every year. He has written movies for TV, including the award-winning thriller LADY KILLER, various pilots and developed screenplays for Kevin Costner and John Travolta. Besides co-writing and co-producing SNOOPY, he wrote and produced the one-man play KENNEDY. He produced P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD by pulitzer prize winning author James Kirkwood. He wrote the stage thriller FINAL CUT which had productions in the UK, South Africa and Australia. His one-man play, KENNEDY - THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH, was developed for HBO and has starred Andrew Stevens, Gregory Harrison and Joseph Bottoms. He has recently been involved in European productions with CLT-UFA, Europe's leading commercial television and radio broadcaster. He wrote MOWs THE DOLL COLLECTION, THE BOTTOM LINE and LAST WITNESS for German television. While in college and graduate school he worked as a foreign correspondent for COMBAT, the famous leftwing Paris daily, and as a travel writer. He visited more than 50 countries. He struggled as an actor, then joined the enemy and entered the training program at William Morris. He became a publicist and worked for Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, at Paramount and MGM. He followed with a brief stint as a story executive, working in the frantic horror genre period of the early 80s and wrote THE UNSEEN. He went onto write for episodic television and develop series pilots. He was a continuing writer on such series such as LOVE BOAT, PAPER DOLLS, and KNOTS LANDING. He developed screenplays for such major award winning directors as Nicolas Meyers, Tony Richardson and J. Lee Thompson. He has written for all the major networks and studios. He has been hired numerous times as a script doctor, doing many uncredited rewrites on TV movies and features. He is currently writing A PERSON OF INTEREST, a thriller novel, and, IT'S THE LOVE BOAT... AND HOW IT CHANGED CRUISING BY SHIP a non-fiction book dealing with how the hit TV series as a major cultural phenomenon and altered the style of cruising by ship. He was raised in Los Angeles. He attended St. Paul's, USC and the Pasadena Playhouse. He received a B.A from San Francisco State University where he majored in theatre arts and minored in creative writing. He is listed as a SFSU leading alumni. He also apprenticed at ACT - The American Conservatory Theatre. For a brief period he had intentions of becoming an Episcopal(Anglican) priest and attended seminary at Kelham Theological College in the UK. When "the calling" wasn't there, he left seminary and did graduate work at the American University of Beirut. He has guest lectured at USC, UC San Diego, McGill, Univ. of London and the Univ. of Texas on the business aspects of making a living and surviving as a writer, focusing on development hell, in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Grace is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatist Guild and former regional chairman of the Steamship Historical Society of America. He resides in Palm Springs.

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