Carnival Cruises have moved very quickly to blame the Captain for “serious mistakes” that appear to have caused the accident to their Costa Line vessel.
A Captain who sails far too close to the shore, does not look where he is going and then gets off before some passengers have been rescued. I wonder how many people when they read the story shrugged their shoulders and thought “typical Italian”. .
Just as Italy was beginning to recover from Berlusconi, another Italian wades in to reinforce the national image of Italians as being charming and fun-loving but not very safety-conscious. Alitalia’s international bookings probably took a dip on Sunday.
But if it is stereotypical behaviour you are looking for, the response of Carnival is straight out of some American Business School’s Damage Limitation Course.
First, blame a “rogue individual”. If that doesn’t work, blame management at the local operating unit (Costa Cruises) but ensure that the overall brand, Carnival, remains unsullied.
Sorry, but that will not work.
There have long been concerns that all cruise companies have taken cost-cutting too far and that there have been too heavy reductions in both the number and quality of officers. If – and it is a big if – we accept the line that the accident was down to a rogue captain, Carnvial have to explain why he was employed in the first place, what supervision and testing he had had and, most importantly, what were the other officers doing on the vessel? On an aircraft, one of the roles of the First Officer is to stop the Captain doing anything unwise.
The cruise industry operates with remarkably little international supervision. It is time for a serious look at safety standards. And, as for Carnival and all their brands (Cunard, P&O, Princess, and many others), maybe they should remember the buck stops with the Board of Directors.