Why is the Concordia on its starboard side?

Costa Concordia: investigators probe role of young Moldovan woman on cruise ship

Adding to the mystery, she was reportedly not on the official list of passengers and crews.

The Telegraph of London has had the best coverage, though I still have questions on aspects of the accident that I don’t understand. I have read that the damage to the ship was on the port side, and in fact a huge piece of sea bottom rock is still struck in the ships hull on that side. What I don’t understand is why the ship capsized on the STARBOARD side?

With a 160ft gash on the port side, the flooding would have caused a list to port. Normally in other disasters at sea the ship’s officers have counter-flooded on the opposite side from the damage to maintain a even keel so that the lifeboats could be launched. So why is the ship on its starboard side? And why did the ship capsize so quickly that almost none of the ships boats were able to be launched?

It has also been reported that the captain dropped his anchors on one side of the ship, which side not specified. No anchor cables are seen in photos of the dry port side, so did he drop his anchors while the ship was still at high speed on the starboard side and by doing so literally pull the ship over?

Italy is a nation with a very long history and traditions of seafaring, Italian sailors have been among the worlds best. I can understand why the entire Italian nation is so outraged and embarrassed by this Captain.

April 15th, 2012: The One Hundredth Anniversary of the Titanic Sinking.

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About On the North River

Forty years toiled in the Tel-com industry, married for 36 years widowed at sixty-one. Tea Party supporter. Do like to kayak, cook, take photos, bike, watch old movies and read.
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6 Responses to Why is the Concordia on its starboard side?

  1. In my comment on another blog (A trainwreck in Maxwell), further speculation on the causes of the Concordia capsizing.

    Good point about the possibility that the bottom of the ship came up on hard sea-bottom, settled, and tipped. As aircraft pilots are told to show caution when approaching the edges of the air (i.e. the land, water and outer space) sailors on very large ships should think twice before approaching the edges of the Sea.

    Secondly, at another site a commenter suggested that the speed of the ship was too fast. The wake and turbulence from the ships passage rebounded from the rocky coast on the starboard side, hitting the keel on that side and exerting a force pushing the keel to port and the top heavy superstructure to starboard.

    Lastly there was a report that the Captain dropped his anchors, on one side only, to slow down and turn. Since no heavy lines can be seen on the damaged port side did this idiot drop his starboard anchors that close to land and pull his ship over?

    Just as the Titanic counterflooded in 1912 specifically to maintain a level attitude for the launching of the lifeboats, so that would/should have been what The Concordia’s officers did. But I have read no reports that any counter flooding was done. Did I miss something?
    But if no counter flooding was done, then why did the ship capsize on the OTHER side unless one of these scenarios contributed.

  2. DagsJanicic says:

    Hello! Just want to say thank you for this interesting article! =) Peace, Joy.

  3. oog says:

    My understanding was that Titanic did not counterflood. As a benefit of the Titanic investigation, the ships at Pearl Harbor did counterflood, which supposedly helped save lives. Is there evidence that Titanic counterflooded?

    • oog says:

      To clarify, I refer to fore-aft flooding. I have never really heard of what kind of port/starboard flooding was available in 1912, 1941, or 2012.

  4. John says:

    Thanks for commenting,
    The Titanic. The ship was considered to be state of the art at the time, and even Wikipedia indicates that it possessed TRIM controls. In modern terms, trim would refer to all four axis of control; fore, aft, port and starboard. Was that the same in 1912? I don’t know. Titanic did have ballast controls and if that included the ability to flood on the port or starboard isolated line, I don’t know. Sometimes I wonder if some of what I remember come from the movies I’ve seen.

    However, by the 1940′s the ability to control trim in all four dimensions was quite advanced. Particularly in military vessels.Consider a moment, in almost any naval engagement, all the damage was sustained on one side only. The side facing the enemy. In modern (1900 on) warfare it could be expected that massive damage could be sustained on one side in extremely short order.
    Historically, one of the major complains leveled by the critics of General Billy Mitchell’s bombing exhibition of the ex-German Battleship in the 1920′s was that without a crew on board to initiate damage control i.e. counterflooding, the ship would not have capsized or sunk.

    Today, it is a basic and fundamental skill of the merchant marine, and a design perquisite.

    Times like this I truly miss my old library, consumed in fire in 2004.

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