This two-photo combo shows from top, part of the harbor of the Tuscan tiny island of Isola del Giglio, Italy, on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, and the same spot on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, with the shipwrecked hulk of the cruise ship Costa Concordia. Italy on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, is marking the 10th anniversary of the Concordia disaster with a daylong commemoration, honoring the 32 people who died but also the extraordinary response by the residents of Giglio who took in the 4,200 passengers and crew from the ship on that rainy Friday night and then lived with the Concordia carcass for another two years before it was hauled away for scrap. (AP Photo/ Andrew Medichini and Gregorio Borgia)

Costa Concordia is gone, but horror lingers 10 years later

Costa Concordia is gone, but horror lingers 10 years later

GIGLIO, Italy (AP) — Fog horns wailed and church bells tolled Thursday as Italy honored the 32 victims of the Costa Concordia shipwreck on the 10th anniversary of the disaster, with a commemoration that recalled the moment the cruise ship struck a reef and capsized off the Tuscan island of Giglio.

Some of the 4,200 survivors attended the anniversary events, which began with a noontime Mass and ended with a candlelit procession to Giglio’s dock at the exact moment, 9:45 p.m. local time, that the Concordia hit the rocks that sliced a 70-meter (230-foot) gash in its hull.

Coast guardsmen placed a wreath of flowers on the dock, and the parish priest led the small group in a moment silent prayer pierced only by fog horns and church bells commemorating the absurdity of the disaster: a stunt ordered up by the captain that ended with 32 people dead and a mammoth cruise ship flopped on its side.

Bells rang out earlier Thurday in the same Giglio church that opened its doors that freezing night and took in hundreds of passengers who abandoned ship and reached shore in lifeboats. Some had climbed off the lopsided liner on rope ladders after it flipped onto its side; others were plucked from the decks by rescue helicopters.

“I invite you to have the courage to look forward,” Grosseto Bishop Giovanni Roncari told survivors, relatives of the dead and Coast Guard officials who had helped coordinate the rescue. “Hope doesn’t cancel the tragedy and pain, but it teaches us to look beyond the present moment without forgetting it.”

The Concordia captain, Francesco Schettino, is serving a 16-year prison sentence for manslaughter and other charges for having ordered the crew to steer the ship off course and closer to Giglio in a stunt known as “tourist navigation” to give passengers and those on shore a thrill.

After the ship hit the reef, the engine room flooded and generators failed, causing a power outage that sent the ship adrift until it eventually crashed offshore and capsized. Evidence presented at the trial showed Schettino downplayed the severity of the situation in communications with the Coast Guard and delayed an evacuation order, then abandoned ship before all the passengers and crew were off.

Giglio’s vice mayor at the time, Mario Pellegrini, had climbed on board the listing ship that night to help coordinate the rescue, and found sheer chaos in the absence of orders from the captain or crew. He recalled he finally climbed down after the last passengers and crew had been evacuated, at around 6 a.m. the following morning.

“The memories I have from that night inside the ship are terrible, of the tears and desperation of the people,” he said Thursday. “I would have wanted to save everyone, but thinking about it again, everything I could do, I did.”

The 10th anniversary is also recalling how the residents of Giglio took in the 4,200 surviving passengers and crew, giving them food, blankets and a place to rest until day broke and they were ferried to the mainland. Giglio’s people then lived with the Concordia’s 115,000-ton, 300-meter (1,000-foot) carcass for another two years until it was righted and hauled away for scrap.

Italy

 

This two-photo combo shows from the top, part of the harbor of the Tuscan tiny island of Isola del Giglio, Italy, on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, and the same spot on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012, with the shipwrecked hulk of the cruise ship Costa Concordia. Italy on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, is marking the 10th anniversary of the Concordia disaster with a daylong commemoration, honoring the 32 people who died but also the extraordinary response by the residents of Giglio who took in the 4,200 passengers and crew from the ship on that rainy Friday night and then lived with the Concordia carcass for another two years before it was hauled away for scrap. (AP Photo/ Andrew Medichini and Pier Paolo Cito)

Experts aboard a sea platform carry oil recovery equipment, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012, as they return to the port of the Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, where the cruise ship Costa Concordia, visible in background, ran aground on Ja. 13, 2012. Italy on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, is marking the 10th anniversary of the Concordia disaster with a daylong commemoration, honoring the 32 people who died but also the extraordinary response by the residents of Giglio who took in the 4,200 passengers and crew from the ship on that rainy Friday night and then lived with the Concordia carcass for another two years before it was hauled away for scrap. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

Relatives of shipwreck victims, Concetta Virzi, who lost her sister Luisa Antonia, flanked at left by Kevin Rebello, who lost his brother Russel, hold candles during a commemoration on the 10th anniversary of the Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster, in the Tuscan island of Isola del Giglio, Italy, Thursday. (Photo by The Associated Press)

Relatives of shipwreck victims, Concetta Virzi, who lost her sister Luisa Antonia, flanked at left by Kevin Rebello, who lost his brother Russel, hold candles during a commemoration on the 10th anniversary of the Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster, in the Tuscan island of Isola del Giglio, Italy, Thursday. (Photo by The Associated Press)