It was recently reported in Rome that cruise ships are being asked to resume their ”sail-by salutes.” It stopped after the Costa Concordia disaster, which occurred while the captain was carrying out a “salute” in January of this year. According to an article published in the Telegraph titled “Calls for cruise ship ‘sail by salutes’ to resume after Costa Concordia tragedy,” salutes should be allowed ”safely and securely as it was fundamental to the tourist trade which Italy relies upon, especially in the summer, when it has more than 40 million visitors a year.” According to the article, tourism chiefs and hotel bosses are making this request to the cruise industry. They let some time pass since the tragic disaster and are now requesting this practice be resumed.
After the Costa disaster, cruise ships have been criticized for a practice that appears to be more common than was known when we first learned of the Costa Concordia disaster. The cruise ship company, Costa, continues to deny the captain had the permission to do the “salute” or that it was common practice. Notwithstanding the tragedy that occurred with the capsizing of the Costa Concordia, the President of the Federation of Hotel owners of Ischia ,Ermando Mennella, said that “the inchino (salute) should be allowed to continue but obviously with safety and security guaranteed for all. It is fundamental for tourism especially to an island like Ischia and if it does not continue then it will have severe economic repercussions and cost jobs in the long run. For many years now cruise ships and mega yachts have been sailing past Ischia, which has helped promote our island in times of economic crisis and last summer alone more than 7,500 cruise ship passengers came ashore.”
The defense of the salute maneuver comes after Italian maritime regulations have restricted the cruise ships to no closer than five nautical miles to shore.
After the Costa incident, CEO Pierluigi Foschi also defended salutes, saying it is a necessary part of cruising and benefits the cruise experience. He forgets 32 people are dead because of this salute and two bodies are still missing from the tragic capsizing.
The towing of the Costa Concordia will start next month. It will cost more than 300 million dollars. In addition Costa Cruises just released a new ship called the Costa Fascinosa. I hope they will figure out a way to make the cruise enjoyable, and to showcase the island of Ischia without jeopardizing the lives of thousands.
Our firm continues to act as safety advocates for those harmed at sea. We are maritime lawyers based in Miami, Florida, and handle all types of cruise ship and boating incidents.