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Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Monday, January 23, 2012

The EU's complicity in the Costa Concordia sinking

Jack Kemp

The European Union had been warned years ago. Here are the "Money Quotes" from the (British) Telegraph article:

The problem repeatedly addressed by Professor Vassalos and his team is what happens to cruise liners when they are holed below the waterline. Because of the network of bulkheads now customary in such “mega ships”, even small amounts of water which break in may be forced to the ship’s opposite side, causing it quickly to capsize.

“As the hull is breached,” one of their papers says, “water may rush through various compartments, substantially reducing stability even when the floodwater amount is small. As a result the ship could heel to large angles – letting water into the upper decks that spreads rapidly through these spaces and may lead to rapid capsize.” Hence what happened to the Costa Concordia, which was holed on the port side but after grounding, which forced water across the ship, then listed dramatically to starboard.

Prof Vassalos and his colleagues have been warning of this with increasing urgency for eight years. As they put it in a paper published in 2007 by the Royal Institution of Naval Architects, “the regulatory system is stretched to breaking point”. But even though their researches were part-funded by the EU, it took no notice of their findings. In 2009, for instance, it issued a new directive adding little to one from 1998 before this fatal design flaw had come to light.

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