Italy celebrates 10 years since the Costa Concordia shipwreck that killed ten thousand people

GIGLIO (AP) -- Italy marked Thursday the 10th anniversary the Costa Concordia cruise vessel disaster. A daylong commemoration culminated with a candlelight vigil to mark the moment the ship crashed into a reef, then capsized off the Tuscan Island of Giglio.

Italy celebrates 10 years since the Costa Concordia shipwreck that killed ten thousand people

As a commemorative Mass began in Giglio church, bells rang out to remember the 32 victims of the shipwreck on January 13, 2012. The same church opened its doors to hundreds of survivors that night and provided shelter for them after they arrived on shore in lifeboats. Some had swum down the side of a liner.

Grosseto Bishop Giovanni Roncari said to relatives of the deceased, survivors, and Coast Guard officials that he encouraged them to "have the courage to look forward." "Hope does not cancel tragedy or pain. But it teaches us how to look beyond the moment and not forget it."

Survivors and their families planned to put a wreath in the sea where the hulking ship finally came to rest off the coast of Giglio. Francesco Schettino is the Concordia's Captain. He was sentenced to 16 years for ordering the crew to turn the ship around to get closer to Giglio. The captain of Concordia, Francesco Schettino, delayed the evacuation order and abandoned the ship before all passengers and crew had been evacuated.

It is also remembered that the Giglio residents took in 4,200 passengers and crew and gave them food, blankets, and a place for rest. Then, they lived with Concordia's wrecked remains for two more years, until it was reconstructed and taken away for scrap.

They gave Kevin Rebello a warm welcome. His brother Russel Rebello was a Concordia waiter. Crews eventually found his remains during dismantling of the ship in 2014.

During the months when divers searched for his brother, Kevin Rebello was close to many Giglio residents. On Thursday, he was presented with an award by the Civil Protection Agency as he arrived at church for the commemorative Mass.

Kevin Rebello stated to reporters that the plaque was for him as he held it in his hands. He would be proud.

This anniversary is occurring as the cruise industry, which was shut down for many months in most of the world due to the coronavirus pandemic in late 2009, is back in the spotlight thanks to COVID-19 epidemics that pose a threat to passenger safety. Last month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control warned everyone not to take cruises, no matter how well-vaccinated, due to the risk of infection.

The COVID-19 infection on Concordia cruise ships is just one example of the lack of safety for passengers. After the captain delayed an evacuation order, Concordia passengers were left to search for life jackets and a functioning boat. Many lifeboats couldn't lower the ship because it was too heavy.

Ester Percossi, Passenger Ester, recalled being knocked to the floor in the dining room from the impact of the reef into the hull. She said it felt like an earthquake. Plates, glasses, and bottles flew off the tables onto the floor.

She recalled, "We stood up and went out onto the deck. There we found the life vests. Everyone was trying to grab them from one another, to save their lives." "There wasn't a law. Only survival is all that matters.

Costa did not respond to email requests for comment regarding the anniversary.

The largest trade association representing the cruise industry, Cruise Lines International Association, stated in a statement to The Associated Press, that safety of passengers and crew is the top priority and that cruising continues to be one of the most safe vacation options.

CLIA stated that "our thoughts continue to be with those who lost their lives in the Concordia tragedy" and that they are still thinking of them. It stated that it had worked with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the maritime industry over the past 10 year to "drive a safety culture based on continual improvement."

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