It hasn’t been an easy year for Costa Cruises. As each cruise ship accident lawyer at our firm can attest to, the aftermath of the Costa Concordia tragedy has rocked the industry and has left many to wonder whether the line, which is part of the Carnival Corp. fleet, can ever rebound. However, in what can only be described as an incredibly bold move to repair its image, Costa Cruises has decided to commission a new vessel, which will be the liner’s largest ship to date.
This week at a dry dock in Italy, work on the new vessel began in earnest. Workers at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy laid the first block of the hull for the 132,500-ton Costa Diadema. The Diadema will be roughly 16 percent larger than the largest Costa ship currently at sea and is scheduled to make its debut in late 2014. Costing $715 million to commission, the vessel will boast 1,854 cabins and will be able to hold up to 4,947 passengers. Not only will the ship be the largest in the Costa Cruises fleet, but the Diadema will also be the largest cruise vessel that will fly the Italian flag.
But while the idea of a new, innovative vessel sounds exciting, critics – and the attorneys at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. – are wondering if the vessel will be able to gain popularity following the Concordia tragedy. The Concordia capsized off the coast of Italy in January and the line still hasn’t recovered from the damage. The incident led to the deaths of 32 passengers, and as if that wasn’t tragic enough, the captain of the vessel, Francesco Schettino, and several other crewmembers, have been accused of contributing to the maritime accident and are awaiting trial in Italy.
Aside from the Concordia accident, a fire that damaged another one of the line’s vessels in February, the Costa Allegra, led to that ship being scrapped and left Costa Cruises with only 14 vessels in its fleet. However, the line’s operators are excited about the new ship and optimistic that the company will regain its popularity among cruise travelers. Costa officials commented on the commission project, explaining that the initial block of the Costa Diadema weighed nearly 500 tons and measured 51.5 feet wide by 95 feet long. The vessel’s placement in the dry dock where it will be built over the coming year was commemorated by a small ceremony.
“The construction of the Costa Diadema is a tangible commitment to the future growth of our company,” said Costa CEO Michael Thamm at the event.
But whether the line will ever regain its former appeal and fan base is something that only time will tell. Regardless of whether Costa cruise goers decide to test out the new ship, travelers, maritime and cruise industry leaders, and each cruise ship accident lawyer at our firm will never forget the Concordia disaster or the lives that were lost at sea.