Costa Concordia, a touch of Titanic

It has been over a week since  Costa Concordia hit the rocks off the isle of Gigilio. And survivor accounts in the media are not going away anytime soon. It may be weeks, and may be  months before we get a sense of what really happened.  And media reports,  of rescue,  salvaging the wreck before it sinks, and the trial of the ship’s captain would  account for a spate of  media stories ,  some books, and, eventually,  a  Hollywood movie – ‘A  Titanic on the rock’ .
Every survivor  would have a story to tell.  And considering that Concordia had on board  3,000 plus passengers, and over 1,000 crew members, there is immense potential for publishers looking for cruise liner disaster titles.  Unlike the iceberg in the Titanic saga,  the rock on which the crippled Costa Concordia came to rest  has become a landmark  for passing vessels,  and promises to be a tourist attraction.

The sinking of  Titanic in 1912  gave rise to ,  and still does,  a series of events related to the disaster.  A Titanic memorial cruise,   departing from Southampton this April is already booked fully.  The tourist guide on board a New York  ferry boat that goes around  Manhattan  made it a point to show us an abandoned pier near 18th Street that continues to attract Titanic buffs.  Pier 59 is where the  Titanic would have docked had it survived its maiden voyage.

Meanwhile the media thrives on the liner disaster trivia –  the ship’s captain had that evening  red wine with gourmet meal, and a beautiful woman for company at the ship’s most exclusive restaurant. Media reports on Costa Concordia had me reach out to the Titanic book  on my shelf.   The ship’s wireless man Herald Bride  in his account of survival  said as he watched the sinking liner from a lifeboat some 100 ft away he could   hear  the band playing  ‘Autumn‘ as the Titanic went down.  On the ship  Commander Lightoller,  lone survivor among ship’s offcer,  referred to the band playing cheery sort of music as supervised the loading and  lowering of lifeboats with women and child passengers.  “I don’t like jazz music as a rule,  but I was glad to hear it that night,”  said the commander, “I think it help us all”.

Even after a 100 years there is no clear or widely acceptable explanation on what had  indeed happened on board the Titanic on April 15, 1912.  There are questions evoking disputed versions:   Was the captian drunk when it happened ? Did the band play ‘Nearer My God to Thee’  as stricken cruise liner plunged into the sea?