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Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Editor-in-Chief: Renda-Tanali, Irmak

Managing Editor: McGee, Sibel

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.757

CiteScore 2018: 1.19

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.442
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.613

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The 'Titanic Syndrome': Risk and Crisis Management on the Costa Concordia

David E. Alexander
Published Online: 2012-08-31 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/1547-7355.1998


The wreck of the Costa Concordia cruise liner on 13th January 2012 on the Italian island of Giglio provides an interesting example of risk and crisis management in relation to maritime disasters. Although only 32 of the 4,252 people aboard died, the wreck may prove to be the most expensive loss of a passenger liner to date, and with only slight changes in circumstances it could also have involved heavy loss of life. This paper reconstructs the sequence of events before, during and immediately after the event. It considers the disaster in terms of the new paradigm of forensic disaster investigation and the established discipline of organizational learning theory. The paper considers how real-time management of the crisis affected the evacuation of passengers, staff and crew from the liner. In this process, normalcy bias and distraction on the bridge reduced the opportunities for timely and efficient muster and departure. A web of contributory causes is formulated, and it is concluded that, as in many other large, complex events, no single factor emerges as dominant and the disaster resulted from systemic failures as much as from human error. Comparisons with other well-known maritime disasters indicate that the Costa Concordia incident had various key elements in common with them. In mid-January 2012, some long-standing lessons therefore remained unlearned.

Keywords: Costa Concordia; cruise liner; maritime disasters; Italy; shipwreck; evacuation; risk management; forensic disaster investigation; organisational learning

About the article

Published Online: 2012-08-31

Citation Information: Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Volume 9, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 1547-7355, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/1547-7355.1998.

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