Monday, January 16, 2012

Captain Fail.

I am not into the whole idea of getting on a cruise ship to spend your vacation on a floating strip mall / cafeteria / resort / casino where the object is to eat, drink, party and relax with thousands of other people and sleep in itty bitty hotel rooms while you sail from one port to another spending money at an alarming rate.  I can't think of a more unappealing way to spend a week's vacation but who knows, I might like it if I tried someday, but after this story, there is just about zero chance I'm getting on a cruise ship.

The Captain of the Costa Concordia chose a course waaay too close to the island of Giglio, Italy just so he could show off his sleek beautiful ship to the folks on the shore.  The route should have been clear according to his nautical charts, allegedly.   Captain Fail.. Hasta la Costa.  

The luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia leans on its starboard side as seen from the Giglio harbor, after running aground off the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012. The luxury cruise ship ran aground off the coast of Tuscany, sending water pouring in through a 160-foot (50-meter) gash in the hull and forcing the evacuation of some 4,200 people from the listing vessel early Saturday, the Italian coast guard said. The number of dead and injured is not yet confirmed Coast Guard Cmdr. Francesco Paolillo said. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

OK I don't know jack squat about being the Captain of a large ship or how to steer the thing or put it in reverse or even how to read a nautical chart, but I am guessing it must be easier than flying an airplane. All you gotta do is stay in the open water, aimed away from land and rocks, right?  I mean, how hard could it be?     

If a cruise ship is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and the lives of thousands of passengers and crew are at stake, then why is the Captain even given the control to steer the ship into rocks? It isn't as if the Captain is physically controlling the rudder, there are servo drives and motors that do that part.  The ship's electronic brains know its precise position and vector as well as local nautical charts  and can even see the other objects in the area. I am quite sure a working autopilot function would never steer the ship into a rock, sandbar or iceberg.   

In my opinion the Captain shouldn't even be allowed to disengage the autopilot function and steer the ship into the rocks, period. Oh and especially on a Friday the 13th if that matters. If some dumbass Captain Stuebing trying to show off the boat can do it, that means some idiot who is trying to kill a bunch of people at once could do it just as easy.

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