The Costa Concordia lies on her side having hit the rocks just off the island of Giglio on the Italian coast. Among the passengers there would have been couples celebrating their wedding anniversary, youngsters full of hope for a new career, journalists preparing articles about the beautiful people and their leisure interests…so far, we know that twelve people died on board when the ship sank. Most of the other passengers lost their belongings, clothes, travel documents, money….more lives ruined.
The mangled machinery inside the vessel will now be immersed in salt water; structures of steel, brass, copper and aluminium, never meant to come into contact with each other or with water are now nothing but quickly-rotting fragments of an immense chaotic battery.
The fuel cargo oil, sternly captured within its tanks, is now crawling out through ruptured steel to join the fishes and the molluscs…a pungent darkness fills their universe, and slowly, in their hundreds, they succumb.
It is reported that the captain of this stricken vessel, Francesco Schettino, fled in a lifeboat before he had supervised the orderly rescue of the passengers. Not really a beautiful person type of behaviour.
The shoals of fish may have been destroyed by the diesel belch, but they will be replaced by swarms of reporters, insurance assessors, marine biology students, corrosion scientists, forensic investigators and salvage experts.
And all the people on board – passengers and crew – would have had life stories which might run to a hundred pages, full of remarkable achievement, but now each of them is defined by a single shared event. Few of us can ever begin to understand the terror of that day, or the shadow which it will cast over the rest of their lives.