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Friday, January 20, 2012

The Sunk Ship




The picture above must have flashed on your television sets more than a hundred times in last few days regardless of what channel you followed for the news update. The world was shocked and astounded to learn of the wreck of the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia off the Tuscan coast. What was the most disturbing aspect was, how could a modern, state-of-the-art passenger vessel have succumbed to such a gross navigational error in well-charted waters, in clear visibility and calm conditions? Apparently the ship ran aground. In other words did not realize that there were rocks below which tore apart the hull of the ship.
The captain of the Costa Concordia, which crashed into rocks off the Italian coast and capsized, has been criticized for allegedly leaving the ship while passengers were still on board. Is a ship's captain legally required to be the last one off?
A recording of a conversation between Captain Schettino and an Italian coastguard has been made public, in which the coastguard orders him back on to the ship to count the number of women and children remaining. The captain replies that he is coordinating the evacuation from a lifeboat and after landing ashore reportedly went for shopping!
View this in contrast with Captain Edward Smith of the Titanic, who was last seen on or near the bridge of the ship as it went down.
In contrast, Captain Francesco Schettino is said to have left the Costa Concordia while many passengers were still struggling to reach safety.
I would like to add one true story in the Indian context which goes as follows:
During the 1971 Indo-Pak War, Captain M.N. Mulla was commanding INS Khukri which was assigned the task of hunting & destroying enemy submarines in the Arabian Sea. On 9 December 1971, INS Khukri was hit by torpedoes fired by an enemy submarine, about 64 km off the coastline near Diu. Captain Mulla decided to abandon the ship. With great presence of mind he continued to direct rescue operations till the ship was about to sink. He even gave his own life-saving gear to a sailor! Having supervised many of his crew to leave the sinking ship, he went back to the bridge. The bow of the ship was pointed upwards as it sank slowly. His surviving shipmates recall him sitting on his chair and hanging on to the railing smoking a cigarette. He was last seen going down with his ship. He had indeed chosen a water grave for himself.
There are not many tales of such heroic deeds and I still vividly recall the day when the incident occurred. Little did I realize that one day I too would be a part of the same Navy!
The sight of a mighty vessel going down speaks volume of the enormity of the tragedy though the number of lives lost was relatively less! It could spell an environmental disaster besides being an eye sore on the pristine Mediterranean shores of Tuscan, till the ship breakers can remove it! There will be a number of enquiries before the actual reasons emerge for the reasons of the disaster. I leave it to the judgment of the readers to form their own opinion after having drawn some comparisons of similar tragedies!
 It is said 'Rats are the first to leave a sinking ship'

62 comments:

  1. Lovely lovely and an insightful post !
    liked the way you spotted things, Indo-Pak war ship thing i know that just now..
    Captain must have courage and never ever give up kinda attitude !
    else i accept the people who abandons and give up are exact reflections of your last line !
    Keep posting :)

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  2. What a touching post, Rahul. I have the highest regard and respect for men like Captain Mulla who epitomize the true qualities of a great captain by not worrying about their own safety but ensuring that everyone else is safe.

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    1. Thanks Rachna!It was a noble sacrifice!

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  3. It is very saddening to know of people who are given such high posts and who in times of need are not able to discharge their duties and at the same time it feels so good to her about people like Captain Mulla

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  4. well written.. People like Captain Mulla have my highest regard.. Some thing very few people will have such an quality of putting others safety first..

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  5. So true..I can't imagine the captain actually fled before other ppl were rescued! I guess we don't have ppl like Captain Mulla or Captain Smith who went down with Titanic anymore! Feel so sad abt the ppl who lost their lives without any fault.

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    1. Thanks Ria! True those men were of stronger mettle!

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  6. The captain of the ship is not going to get another job anytime soon.

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    2. The Narcissist, It has much bigger dimension and not just a matter of getting another job!

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  7. Rats are first to leave the sinking ship. I wish the captain reads this and thinks about his own act. It's quite a shameful act.

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  8. When this story first hit the news, I instantly thought of the Titanic. Sad to say that the biggest difference between the two tragedies lies within the differences in Captains :( Some people don't have consciences and can therefore live with the results of their poor choices. Very sad, indeed.

    You captured the story well, Journalist Rahul :-) I also enjoyed learning about India's Captain Mulla ~ thank you for the education!

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    1. Thanks Princesa Fiona for your true appreciation of the situation!

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  9. Very well written Rahul Ji and I could sense the pride in the post. I hope the captain pays for this deed of his. Rat he is.

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    1. Chintan, You are just right! I do take pride that althogh I did not see Capt Mulla, but I too happen to have served in the same force!

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  10. I so agree with Princesa Fiona! I thought of Titanic! I love the ending line. Rats are the first :)

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  11. Thanks Juhi! It was more a sense of outrage to have seen this shameful unfolding of events!

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  12. Captain MN Mulla = RESPECT!! I didn't know abt this, Rahul ji.. And am sure it might be a great feeling being a part of the same Navy!! :)

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  13. Thank You Binu! I am sure that such awareness would have also made you feel proud of some heroes of our real life...

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  14. Thanks for sharing the story about Capt Mulla. I've never heard of it before. Beautiful post, Rahul!

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  15. Yep - that captain is a rat for leaving his sinking ship. So sad.

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  16. Rahul since I am Italian I know something more about this story. What happened is totally unforgivable, the wrong manouvre is totally on the captain but we do fear that the delay in giving the order of evacuating the ship and the fact that the captain left the ship in advance is something that was ordered by Costa. We are starting to believe that they wanted to save the ship first and then they tried to find an agreement with the captain to throw any responsability on him. And for a coward captain we had a very brave vice-mayor who jumped into the ship to save people. This is italy....

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    1. Francesca, I have by no means intended to hurt anyone and this may take a while to establish what went wrong!However, the Captain is the final word when he is in command of the ship and no other authority however mighty can call shots( life of people on board and the safety of the ship are captain's responsibility)!I have no doubts about the capabilities of Italian authorities who still salvaged the situation!

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  17. I can't imagine how a Captain can desert a sinking ship. A very thought-provoking post.

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  18. An exercise for the brain. Good post. Happy to follow u.

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    1. Thanks a lot Adi, for liking and also following! You made my day:)

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  19. Am with Rachna on this - strange captain! Boy, such a catastrophe ...

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  20. thanks for sharing story of our Indian war heroes

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    1. This is the least could do sm! To remember some of the forgotten heroes who paved way for the good lives we enjoy today!

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  21. Thanks for this insightful post on such a topical subject. I like how you compared this incident to previous one in history. I do think that a Captain should be fully responsible for all his guests and inhabitants on the ship. But in the end, we have to realise that he too is only human and was looking out for his own life. He may also have a family to get home to, so risking his life was probably not something he was willing to do. Still, it was very tragic.

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    1. Sam, So nice to agree on the theme of this post!If everyone becomes selfish and thinks of family then no one would be willing to risk their life to defend their countries! The honor of a nation,its people comes first, next the lives of your men, and of self and family comes last as Field Marshal Chetwood said.

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  22. It is sad to know that people who should be responsible act in such manner. At the same time, it is good to know that brave hearts like Captain Mulla are also there. Thanks for sharing his inspiring deed!!!

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    1. Thanks Nisha, for your nice comment and for following!

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  23. pathetic! and to think he went shopping! and to contrast this with the Titanic event and then with the heroism of Capt Mulla! respects to them

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    1. Sujatha, unfortunately, in the materialistic world the human values have been lost somewhere!:(Thanks for admiring some of the heroic deeds!

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  24. Great post. Yes indeed, this story has been occupying my thinking a lot lately too. Part of me refuses to believe that the captain has been such a coward, as is portrait by the media. I am waiting for a story to emerge to alleviate his guilt, but by each day only the opposite starts to be credible.
    It is a sad story indeed and a terrible tragedy, and it takes away a bit of my cruise ships fascination...
    xox

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  25. Zuzana, thanks for those remarks!Yes, it leaves a whole lot of question marks and wish this disaster could have been avoided..:(

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  26. A very compelling post. Really loved the account of Captain M.N Mulla. A true hero. The act of Captain Schettino on the other hand was very painful to hear. :(

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  27. Thank you Raj! Am sincerely grateful for following ! You made my day:)

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  28. That's great knowing about a real hero captain Mulla! We couldn't stop comparing this incident with Titania and its absolutely reckless what the Captain did more than anything on land.

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    1. well thanks for sharing ...n abt the captain who choose his grave in water that was a Bravery hard to think abt that...
      the picture posted looks in terrible state!!

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    2. @ Jeevan-Thanks, Jeevan!
      @ Harman- Thank a lot, Harman!

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  29. Thank you for this post and sharing the story about captain Mulla. Your generation has great stories of heroism and the more you share with us, the happier we will be. The Costa Concordia story was indeed sickening. I hope the captain gets what he deserves.

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    1. Thanks Gayatri for having liked this! Will try to keep racking my memories for some nice stories to share in future too:)

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  30. There is so much we are not even aware of. Feels Proud to think that these kind of people still exist and Humanity still prevails!

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    1. So true Ashwini! We still know so little about the great people who descended on the earth!

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  31. dats a wonderful post Sir... wow... yeah, i can remember Titanic movie...

    So proud to hear abot Captain Mulla... very proud to say dat am an Indian....

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    1. Kalai, that was a lovely remark! Thanks a lot!

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  32. Sorry for my delayed comment Rahul-ji... It has become the order of the day for me :)

    After reading the comparisons, I got goosebumps after knowing captain M.N.Mulla sacrificed his life for others!

    Its a sad story of Costa Concordia and yes it indeed reminded me of Titanic. But I wonder why even in 21st century, with all the state-of-the-art equipment and navigational systems, tragedies like this still happen. And the conscience of that ship captain will give him what he deserve!

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    1. And thanks for sharing captain M.N.Mulla's story. You have many things to enlighten us

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    2. Anand, our preoccupations sometime leave little time, but you took the effort to visit my blog and leave those nice comments speaks volumes! Am happy you liked these lesser known stories!:)

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  33. The error, fear, selfishness, an inability to make the right choices at the right time is part of being human as the courage and selflessness.
    How many tragedies could have been avoided if they had taken fatal The minute decisions, but this is life and you will never go back.
    As Italian disturbs me to see the pain always thrown on the front page, tourists line up to see the sinking ship.
    No thought for the girl with her dad
    still lying on the seabed.
    Excuse the outburst.
    Ciao
    Loretta

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    1. Loretta, Thanks for taking time to read this!It is sad to see that despite all the modern technology, the human errors of this scale leading to the tragic end!

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  34. Well Rahul I am pretty sure the whole world agrees with you. His selfishness is really hard to forgive.

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    1. Thank you Agnes!The lackadaisical attitude of the Captain is unpardonable!

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    2. thank you so much. fosbobetr good Archive

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