Titanic comparisons endured after Italian ship disaster
Where man always bites dog
Sunday, July 15, 2018, 23:20:UTC)(
14 January 2012
GIGLIO, Italy -- In this twelfth year of our century, a cruise ship has suffered a catastrophe in the night. With thousands of souls aboard, it seems clear that the crew was ill-prepared to evacuate the ship. Many passengers, dressed in their evening finest, found themselves in frigid water rather than in a life boat. And tales of a shipboard panic have emerged.
Already eyes are rolling world-wide as survivors of the Costa Concordia calamity off of the Italian island of Giglio yesterday begin to share their stories. Many compare it to the ill-fated 1912 voyage of the R.M.S. Titanic, proving that mass-media and globalized culture have turned people into mindless referential automatons. Marshall McLuhan is either very pleased with himself or rolling in his grave. (Editor's note: an exhumation team was unable to report findings by press time).
As cinematised by James Cameron, the Titanic became a metaphor for class struggle, evoking powerful sentiments as well-to-do first-class passengers lorded themselves over third-class passengers - forgetting the fact that even third-class accommodation was extremely expensive on that ship, and anyone there must have either been rich (just not that rich), or just really bad with money. The Titanic story has also been popularly characterised as one of Man's hubris in the face of Nature, depicting the ship's passengers and crew as overly confident in boasts that the ship was unsinkable. Said Nature, "It sure hurts to be wrong sometimes, doesn't it, sweethearts?"
With the Costa Concordia still mostly above water, a vast majority of the passengers accounted for, and proximity to shore a major factor in both, comparisons with the Titanic disaster are exaggerated.
If the case of the Costa Concordia bears any similarity, it is with the chaos as the ship listed, and the crew's almost comically inept emergency response. "It was so unorganised, our evacuation drill was scheduled for 17:00," said one passenger. Some reports suggest that an evacuation drill was scheduled for Saturday - a full day after the ship set sail. Still more reports suggest that the crew's planned evacuation drill consisted of a large, mechanical boring tool used to frighten people into jumping overboard. By this measure, the evacuation was a success, as passengers reportedly jumped into the water and swam to shore in terror.
An investigation into the cause of the incident is underway. The president of Costa Cruises, Gianni Onorato, said that the ship hit "a big rock" and lost power. Asked to elaborate on what may have led to the collision so bafflingly close to shore in calm water, Onorato shrugged and made the "drinky-drinky" gesture. Some locals, noting the proximity to Tuscany, are blaming Tuscan raiders, but authorities have yet to find traces of gaffi sticks or bantha tracks in the vicinity. The ship's captain was arrested Saturday on official charges of being a chump and abandoning ship before anyone else. The captain remarked to one reporter, "Did I do that?" immediately after the disaster.
Several environmental organizations have expressed their concern about the ship releasing diluted fuel into the Italian Coast. As the water of the Mediterranean Sea consists entirely of oil and chemical sludge, the diluted oil can diminish the content of hazardous chemicals in this body of water, putting those very organizations out of the profitable business of scaring people. As the survival of these organization hinges on compiling statistics about cancer rates and publishing pictures of oil soaked gulls, any numbers that shows diminishing rates or pictures of gulls actually flying are a menace to the future of their flourishing business model, perhaps even making the public feel less guilty about eating mercury poisoned fishes. Whole-bran product manufacturers are monitoring the situation closely.
Somali pirates and US Navy, already in a hot contested brawl about who owns the Ormuz Strait, have complained bitterly about the press coverage given to this incident. Both organizations have expressed their fears of being displaced as the major villains of the seas, with a Somali pirate chieftain saying: "This is terrible. We have cooperated for ages with Admiral Ty, of the US Navy, and worked hard to earn our well deserved place as the most despicable human beings traveling on sea, but all our years of downing airliners and raping rich yacht owners are going down the drain. Har, har". Admiral Ty said in a brief statement: "This is a major storm, we're being washed by the waves and the ripples are hard to predict. This is a tide of unexpected proportions that could drown our publicity efforts and wet our powder". The US Congress immediately appropriated money for a new missile system that shots passenger cruisers, with the Speaker of the House expressing: "We have a cruise sinking gap!".
Iran Navy representatives only commented: "This is an opportunity for us to leave the third place we have been in for so long. Now we know what to do with oil tankers: insert covert tourist ships captains in their fleets". When informed that USN Vincennes already had proved that this concept worked, he smiled and said: "Yes, but only as missile launch director!".
Costa Concordia owners are already in talks (that is, being pawned) by two major film distributors to produce a movie based on this incident. Critics like Robert Eggburp expect this movie to be released before the end of the year, with Eggburp expressing approval even before the screening, as this is a unique opportunity to pontificate.
This movie will be centered in crowd mobbing of Captain Schettino, taking the phrase "Going down with the ship" to new heights of popularity. Captain Schettino will be depicted using roller skates for the duration of the movie, sporting horns and a tail (Schettino means "roller skate" in Italian). Nike's Schettino-brand roller skates have already been spotted around the Bay Area in Los Angeles in a viral advertisement campaign.
The phrase "Listen, Schettino, there is people on board" will be plastered across the movie poster. This phrase, uttered by the world famous Captain Obvious, who was a member of Italian Coast Guard at the time of the accident, is expected to win the "Most famous obvious phrase that is painfully obvious" category at the Razzie Awards, as the ship was designed for, built for and worked in the business of carrying people.
Schettino's lover will be depicted in the movie, but insiders say that there are few actresses interested in this role, as the only scenes involved are blow jobs given to the captain while the crew dance and drink and a monkey handles the helm. The movie will be baptized "Tit-anic (blink, blink)". Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson have already auditioned for the role of Schettino. Both actors have ample experience in similar roles. The rock that hits the ship will be played by The Rock, although some critics say that this role requires a wider range of abilities than the ones that this actor displays. The Rock agent has said: "We are in talks for the script to be digitally delivered to him, as he can handle scissors, but he cannot handle paper".
The ship cannot be salvaged as the cost of this operation is greater than the value of the ship. Disney executives have already expressed interest on mounting a theme park with the ship as centerpiece. Giglio Island, where the ship ran aground, will be renamed Gigio Island. The role of this popular Italian puppet mouse will be played by Mickey Mouse and the character will be shown as an animatronic robot at the helm. Several cruise lines have expressed their interest in ferrying passengers from all over Europe to the site of the accident, once the theme park opens.
One major difference between these two ship accidents is: One is floating, and one is not!
- BBC News "Couple rescued from submerged ship Costa Concordia". BBC, January 14, 2012
- BBC News "Italy cruise ship Costa Concordia aground near Giglio". BBC, January 14, 2012