Nova (1974–…): Season 39, Episode 10 - Why Ships Sink - full transcript

No matter how sophisticated civilian sailing vessels can get, there is always the risk of them sinking. This film explores several modern sinkings, such as the RMS Titanic and the Costa Concordia, to find out how those disasters happened. In addition, the performance of the crews during such emergencies is also examined to show how human behavior and poor training for such high stress situations can make make them worse.

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Disaster at sea...

as terrifying as it is rare

for millions of people
on today's ocean cruises.

Yet two tragedies
100 years apart

remind us that accidents
do happen.

A century ago, the state-of-the-
art passenger ship Titanic

hit an iceberg.

More than 1,500 people died.

In 2012, the cruise ship
Costa Concordi a sank

at the cost of 32 lives.

Statistics show that
cruises are reasonably safe.

But with ships now carrying
thousands of people,

might another catastrophe
be looming?

NOVA examines cruise ship
construction, design,

and how captains are trained,

all to understand
"Why Ships Sink."

Right now on NOVA.

Major funding for NOVA
is provided by the following...

More than ten million Americans
set sail

on cruise ship vacations
each year.

This worldwide $33 billion
industry has grown fast,

as have the ships.

Some of the ships have 6,500
passengers aboard

and 2,000 crew members,

more people than my hometown.

As this industry and
its ships reach for the skies,

is enough attention being paid
to passenger safety?

Industry official statistics,

citing just 16 deaths
in the five years up to 2010,

suggest cruising is safe.

But since then,
the tragic deaths

on the sunken Italian
cruise ship Costa Concordia

raise new concerns.

Disasters are rare,
but is the risk growing?

with huge loss of life

like the most iconic sea
disaster of all time,

the 1912 sinking of Titanic,

almost exactly 100 years
before Concordia.

The catastrophes,
a century apart,

reveal astonishing similarities.

That raises the question:

are the massive technological
advances of the past 100 years

enough to guarantee
our safety at sea?

Such maritime accidents
highlight important issues

in ship construction,

design, and the training
of captains and crews.

So, are modern cruise ships
tough enough to withstand

the dangers of the sea?

We will never be able
to build a ship

large or small,

to withstand an impact
with a rock

or likely with an impact
with an iceberg for that matter.

Are cruise ships now too large
to be safe?

And is it too easy to ignore

their complex navigation

You're able to get
navigational warnings,

you're able to monitor
other traffic,

you're able to see how close
you want to get

to points of danger.

And do crews have the training
to handle dangerous situations?

The majority of the employees
on the ship

are designed to sell
food and alcohol.

You have only very few
true professional mariners.

Costa Concordia was
owned by a subsidiary

of the U.S. Carnival

It had a luxurious cinema
and spa, five restaurants,

13 bars, four swimming pools.

Everything a honeymoon couple
could have wanted.

This was pretty much something
we both dreamed of.

It was a beautiful ship.

Just the food, the sights,
the sounds,

you know, everything,
just the culture itself,

just a change of pace and just
really looking forward

to just enjoying ourselves
on our honeymoon.

There had been no safety drill
for the passengers

who'd boarded that day.

International regulations allow
the obligatory lifeboat muster

to be delayed for up to 24 hours
after leaving port.

Safety was, like, the last thing
we were thinking of, you know.

"Where's our life jacket?"
you know.

We didn't think
anything like that.

What can go wrong
on your honeymoon?

Friday, January 13, 2012.

With 4,200 souls on board,

the Concordi a had just left port
near Rome.

the island of Giglio,

the vessel diverted
from its prescribed route,

apparently to perform
a sail-by just off the coast.

Many passengers were at dinner.

Others were watching a magic
show when everything stopped.

We heard a very unusual kind
of grinding sound.

Like almost like fingers
on a chalkboard type of thing.

Plates were moving,
silverware was jingling,

glasses were jingling.

The music stopped.

The magician literally
ran off the stage.

The lights went out.

We all just kind of

looked at each other, like,
"What is that?"

At 16 knots,
nearly 20 miles per hour,

the 114,000-ton ship
had hit rock.

32 people would perish,
and the world would ask why.

That same question was asked
100 years ago

after the maiden voyage
of another giant ship...

The Titanic.

The men, women and children
on board,

just like the passengers
on Concordia,

were also sailing
into a nightmare.

Four days out from England,
heading to New York,

an iceberg split open its hull.

It sank within hours.

More than 1,500 people drowned
or died of hypothermia.

The ghost of Titanic
still seems to haunt

its shipyard birthplace
in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Here, thousands of laborers
built Titanic

for the American-owned
White Star Shipping Line.

She is the 747 of her day.

She's designed as a giant
people carrier.

Nearly 900 feet long
and 100 feet wide,

Titanic was then the biggest
man-made object to move

on the face of the planet.

Computer graphics can bring her
first and final voyage

back to life.

The ship's journey was
two-thirds complete

by late evening
on April 14, 1912.

Despite reports of icebergs,

Captain Edward Smith
maintains speed

to stay on schedule.

11:40 p.m., ship's time.

Titanic was approximately
400 miles southeast

of Newfoundland.

A 45,000-ton ship heading
towards a massive iceberg.

This giant iceberg was a rogue.

It had broken away
from the pack.

By the time the two lookouts
in the crow's nest had seen it

and reported it to the bridge,
it was too late.

The Concordia and Titanic

bear remarkable parallels.

Both cruised at speed into
large underwater obstacles.

Both hulls were ripped open
below the waterline,

piercing so many
watertight compartments

that they could not stay afloat.

Could the quality of the steel
used in their construction

have been at fault?

The answer is being sought here

at the California Maritime
Academy in Vallejo.

Michael Strange conducts what's
called a Charpy impact test

on two samples of steel...

One similar to that
from Titanic's era,

the other a modern-day sample.

We install a specimen
into the machine

that has a very special shape
with a small groove in it,

which focuses the energy
into one location.

The head is released,
crashing into the specimen.

The test measures how high
the pendulum swings

after it smashes
through the steel bar.

The higher the swing,

the less energy has been used
by the pendulum

to break the sample
and the weaker the steel.

The tests reveal
that modern-day steel

is seven times more resistant
to impact than was Titanic's.

This fits with earlier studies

showing Titanic's steel
contained more sulfur

and phosphorous
than modern materials.

These impurities can accumulate
between the crystal layers

of the metal and weaken
its structure.

But the strength of a metal
also depends

on how much it stretches
and deforms to absorb energy.

Make sure we're nice and tight.

Strange stretches sample bars

to their breaking point.

A stronger metal will stretch
further before it breaks.

We can see in the bottom third

it's starting to narrow
a little bit.

And it's just about reached
its failure point.

It's a little bit hard to tell,

but it is quite a bit longer
than it was when it originated.

If you look in the area
of my fingers here,

you'll see that it actually has
reduced in diameter,

and that area is called necking.

That's where the forces
and stresses are the highest

right before failure.

In this case,

the sample that fails to cope
with the strain and snaps first

is the Titanic era steel.

Its quality suffered
because the importance

of controlling temperature
during the smelting process

was not well understood.

In comparison to some
of the older materials,

for instance, the material
used in the Titanic,

they don't have the ability
to absorb near as much energy

as current steels do.


the metal of modern ships is
more suited to surviving at sea

than Titanic's.

A more significant problem

was the way Titanic's steel
plates were connected.

After hitting the iceberg,

Titanic stayed afloat
for less than three hours.

Iron rivets held the steel
plates of her hull together

at the bow and stern.

They were her weakest link.

In Titanic,

there'd be approximately
three million rivets.

This is an iron rivet recovered
from the sea bed

from the Titanic.

But this is actually
the head of the rivet.

This is the tail of the rivet.

So this is inside the hull
and this is outside the hull.

Riveting was a backbreaking job.

Men were paid by how many rivets
they drove in a day.

They were known as the hard men
of the shipyard.

Titanic’s rivets were heated,
then hammered through holes

in two plates of steel.

Cooling and contracting,

the rivets pulled the hull
plates tightly together

into a watertight seal.

So you have a steel ship,

but it's constructed
using iron rivets.

Unfortunately, the rivets
themselves are by nature weaker

than the plates
which they are attaching.

And the head has been
literally ripped off

the top of this rivet.

As the iceberg bent and buckled
each plate,

the rivets popped out,

unzipping seams along
a 300-foot section of hull.

The iron rivets just haven't
been strong enough to withstand

the immense pressure
of the iceberg striking.

By contrast, Concordia's modern
hull had no rivets at all.

Sections were welded together.

Below the surface,
divers are finding solid rock,

polished or cracked apart
by the force of the collision.

They've also come across an
amazing piece of evidence...

This twisted ribbon of solid,
inches-thick steel

stripped from Concordia's hull

as though opened up by the key
of a giant sardine can.

The conclusion is unmistakable.

Modern steel may be strong,

but nothing can withstand
the crushing impact

of a 100,000-ton cruise ship on
an immovable granite outcrop.

You have to remember the weight
of this vessel

and the momentum.

So even a very slow movement

of an object this size just
produces enormous forces

perfectly able to just strip
the metal apart and shear it off

like it's a piece of paper.

We will never be able to design
a ship, large or small,

to withstand an impact
with a rock,

or with an iceberg,
for that matter.

The designers
of the Titanic did try.

Internal compartments
with watertight doors

were supposed to contain
any flooding in her hull.

But the bulkheads
between those compartments

did not reach all the way up
to the deck above.

Ultimately this meant
that the water would flow

over the top of one bulkhead,
over the top of another.

And it was inevitable
that the Titanic would sink.

It was just a question of time.

Bulkhead design has since
been improved.

In modern ships, they reach
right to the top.

All vessels have

watertight compartments.

This is a technology,
a design feature,

that dates back to the Titanic.

Titanic and Concordia
had another

safety feature in common.

They had protective
double bottoms,

an extra watertight layer
of steel above the keel.

If the bottom of the ship
is damaged,

water still won't enter
the inner hull.

But both Titanic and Concordia
were struck

above their double bottoms.

Here, their only protection was
a single layer of steel.

The double hull isn't around
the entire skin of the ship.

It's usually just
in the bottom area of the ship

so that if a breach of the hull
occurs above that,

then you would have open flow
of water coming into the vessel.

The consequences were fatal
for both ships.

Concordia took on water
and listed heavily.

Only being beached
near the shore

saved her from sinking outright.

Titanic, tragically,
sank in the open ocean.

In the 100 years between
these two accidents,

the lessons of the Titanic
disaster were applied to ships

such as oil tankers.

Their double-thickness hulls now
reach right up to the waterline.

But only some modern cruise
ships have adopted this design.

It's clear that you have
an added degree of safety

with a double hull.

But full double hulls
add expense.

There would be cost limitations
involved with that.

Also it may be a reduction
in the amount of cargo

the vessel could carry
in a commercial sense.

The Cruise Lines International
Association represents 25 lines.

They and other major
cruise companies

declined to be interviewed
about any of the issues

raised in this program,

including the design
of the latest generation

of cruise ships.

This is a controversial area,
and not all experts agree,

but some industry figures

where these giant ships
are headed.

These ships now are being built

in such a way that they are
inherently unstable.

It is a design issue.

The first, and most obvious,
design development

of recent years has been
the ever-increasing height

of the ships.

The tallest now in service
reach more than 230 feet

above the waterline...
A 20-story building at sea.

In strong winds, a high-sided
ship acts like a giant sail,

a concept illustrated by the
collision between two ships

off the coast of Cozumel,
Mexico, in 2009.

Wow, we're really close
to these people, man.

Look at that...
Whoa, he's going to hit!

Passengers on board
the 88,000-ton cruise ship

Carnival Legend took these
shots as a 55 mile-per-hour wind

sent the vessel
veering out of control.

We're gonna hit, we're gonna
hit, we're gonna hit.

Even her directional steering
thrusters could not prevent her

from colliding with the cruise
ship Enchantment of the Seas.

We've hit, we've hit.

In continuing high winds,

the ships clashed
for more than 20 minutes.

It was a dangerous situation
with costly damage.

But there was no breach
of the ships' hulls

and no one was injured.

The towering height
of these ships

also raises the issue
of stability.

At the University of Michigan,

Steve Zalek studies how ships
float and why they sink.

This 360 foot-long tank

holds three-quarters
of a million gallons of water.

On accurate models, Zalek
adjusts the weight distribution

to mimic ships of all shapes
and sizes.

The fundamental concept
between how any boat floats,

large or small,
is the relationship

between its center of mass,
it's gravity,

and the buoyancy of the volume
of water that it displaces.

They have to be in balance
in order for the boat to float.

A ship's center of gravity is
the point through which

all of its weight
appears to be concentrated.

The upward force making it float

acts as if directed through
its center of buoyancy,

at the heart of the submerged
part of the hull.

When the center of gravity
is generally lower,

the ship is generally considered
a little more stable.

Zalek adjusts the weights
to more closely resemble

the higher center of gravity
of a cruise ship.

By placing the same amount
of weight on the ship,

but moving a large amount of it
to a higher position

so that we've raised
the center of gravity,

we've changed
the roll characteristics.

A lower center of gravity makes
a ship more stable.

The downside is that it rocks
more rapidly from side to side,

especially in rough seas.

So cruise ship operators prefer
a higher center of gravity.

The ship rolls more slowly,

making passengers
more comfortable,

and fewer get seasick.

Now that ship with
the higher center of gravity

is going to have a more gentle,
swaying roll,

but that ship is not
quite as stable,

even though it may have better

for people to ride on.

The reason why the ship
is less stable

is that a higher center of
gravity also makes the ship roll

further from side to side.

In extreme conditions,

some experts believe this makes
ships less safe.

The ship should be designed

so that when the wheel
is put hard over

in either direction

the vessel should not heel
more than 10 degrees.

In reality, some of these
vessels are heeling

to 20 degrees or even more.

In April 2010, 60 passengers
on the Carnival Ecstasy

were injured when the ship
heeled sharply

as it made a rapid turn
to avoid a buoy

off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

Such violent maneuvers should
normally be avoidable

with modern navigation aids.

But 100 years ago,

the ill-fated Titanic had
nothing but the eyes

of its two lookouts to warn
of hazards ahead.

On a calm, moonless night,

with no whitewater breaking,

they failed to see an iceberg

until it was barely
half a mile away.

Modern ships have far more than
a lookout's eyes to guide them.

After five years
as a master mariner,

Rick Comeau now runs this
simulator in Rhode Island.

This virtual bridge can conjure
up every possible danger.

Hey, Tom, if you could,
turn the rain off and add fog.

It also has a full
navigation facility.

This is the electronic
charting system,

very similar to the one
that was being used

onboard the Concordia.

You're able to get
charted depths,

you're able to get
navigational warnings,

you're able to monitor
other traffic,

you're able to see

how close you want to get
to points of danger.

It really does allow us
to have a bird's-eye view

of where we are
and how close dangers are.

But the state-of-the-art

on modern cruise ships
is only as good

as the captain and crew
who use it.

So you can have seemingly well-
designed and constructed ships

with the best technology,

but if you don't have
experienced mariners at the helm

they can find themselves
in great trouble.

Ultimately we cannot design
against human error.

How do human mistakes
sink ships?

Costa Concordia's accident
is still under investigation

by Italian authorities,

with human error
as the prime suspect.

My first reaction on seeing
the Concordia run aground was,

"What was that ship doing
so close to the rocks

in such shallow water?"

The captain was 51-year-old
Francesco Schettino.

He joined the Costa line in 2002
and took command

of the half-billion dollar
Costa Concordia

just four years later.

Like all cruise ship captains,

he also acted as the ship's
chief of public relations

and host.

Good evening, enjoy your cruise.

Nobody has yet been
able to explain

why he allowed his ship
to hit a rock

that is marked
on navigation charts.

They have pre-programmed

navigational routes that are
embedded in their computers,

so that you can chart
a safe passage,

and if the ship for any reason
departs from that safe itinerary

alarms should go off.

Schettino has reportedly told
the Italian authorities

that he was navigating
by sight only, in the dark.

Tracking data shows that
he diverted from his route

to perform a sail-by close
to the island of Giglio.

This is part
of their entertainment.

This is part of the drama and
flair of modern-day cruising.

For the Costa Concordi a, it
proved to be a fatal decision.

9:40 p.m.

The ship was heading towards
rocks at the edge of the island.

By the time Schettino realized
the danger,

the Concordia was just 1,000
feet from shore...

Too late to turn.

The ship struck rock.

This was not the only mistake
that evening,

and certainly not the only
example of human error

imperiling lives at sea.

In 1991, a tropical storm

the cruise ship Oceanos
off the coast of South Africa.

The emergency shows just how
a captain and crew's behavior

can compromise safety.

Some of the nearly
600 passengers

were being entertained
by guitarist Moss Hills

and his wife, Tracy.

None of them realized a serious
problem was developing

below decks.

Most ships have small openings
below their waterline,

to pump water in and out.

In the battering from the waves,

a crucial valve had failed.

Oceanos was taking on water.

Suddenly we seemed to hit
extra-big waves

and you could hear
these really loud crashes

as these waves hit the side
of the ship

and we lost all the power
and the lights went off.

Below deck, seawater had reached
the generator room,

knocking out all power.

It started to be sort
of 15, 20 minutes,

no lights, no announcements

and the ship really started to
lurch heavily onto one side now.

It wasn't even returning
to an even keel.

Water was collecting
in the bowels of the ship,

pulling the vessel to one side.

There were no alarms,

no warning signals or anything
that anything had gone wrong.

In fact, it was just nothing
from anybody.

We saw some of the crew starting
to get little bags,

sort of duffle bags,
and rucksacks and...

and running up the stairs back
up to the topside of the ship.

And we thought, well, you know,

"There's something very bad
going on here."

Disturbed by the crew's actions,
Moss went to investigate.

I wanted to go down below and
see exactly what was happening.

Carrying a camcorder
and recording everything,

Moss realized they were
in big trouble.

When I suddenly saw all that
water, that was a huge shock.

The failed valve was
now letting water

course through every pipe
in the ship's plumbing system.

Traditional watertight bulkheads
couldn't stop the water;

the pipes passed
right through them.

The seawater exploded
out of toilets and sinks

all over the ship.

Oceanos was flooding
from the inside out.

In despair, Moss raced
to the bridge.

I went up to the bridge area and
it was completely abandoned.

It looked in a bit of disarray.

There were binoculars lying
around and sliding around,

and charts had fallen
to the floor

and it's just not a sight
that you expect to see.

The missing captain was
later discovered

smoking a cigarette
under the stairs.

Many of the crew
had fled in a lifeboat.

Still no announcements, still no
officers to be seen anywhere,

and we started to realize
we were in charge.

Moss grabbed the ship's radio.

I'd said mayday and he said,

"Right, well, you know,
what is your mayday?"

And I said, you know,
"We're the cruise ship Oceanos.

We're sinking."

"What rank are you?"

I said, "Well, I'm not actually
a rank, I'm a guitarist."

And he said, "Well, what are
you doing on the bridge?"

I said, "Well, there's nobody
else here."

And he said, "Where's the
captain and the officers?"

I said, "I don't know,
we don't know where they are."

Moss and the other passengers
waited nervously for help.

Eventually, more than a dozen

South African navy helicopters

We could see them flying in,

and that was an enormous sense
of relief.

It was almost like a movie.

Arriving on deck, a navy rescuer
brought bad news.

He said,
"We can see from up above

"when we're looking at the ship,
it's definitely going to sink.

"It's a lot more serious
than you think.

We're not even sure
we can get everybody off."

Aware that they were
running out of time,

Moss helped the rescuers lift
passengers to safety.

So I went through a very fast
training period with him

on how to work the harnesses
and how to give signals

to the helicopter pilots.

After helping everyone else
to escape,

it was Moss and his wife's
turn to be saved.

He yanked us in
and we looked down

and we realized just how close
to the water we were

and how terribly close
to sinking that ship was.

The Oceanos had now taken on
too much water.

As the ship fell onto her side,

water rushed to her bow,
dragging her under.

In the aftermath of the sinking,

there was an unusual defense
from the captain,

who claimed he had given
an abandon-ship order.

Captain Avranas was convicted
of neglecting his duties.

But there may be an explanation
for this kind of inaction.

Ed Galea models human behavior
in extreme situations.

This is what we call
behavioral inaction.

What you find is
that the person freezes.

The situation is
so overwhelming for them,

they just don't know what to do.

Ed Galea's theory of negative
panic might help explain

the errors made on board both
Costa Concordi a and Titanic.

Despite a distinguished career,

official inquiries found fault
with Captain Smith of Titanic

for steaming too fast into
an area known to have ice.

While some credit his actions
in the rescue efforts

that followed, others find more
to criticize.

If you look at his actions

on the night of the 14th,
15th of April,

he really failed
not only the passengers

but also the crew and himself.

With Titanic sinking fast,

Captain Smith failed to ensure
that the lifeboats were filled

as they should have been.

In an emergency, in a crisis
situation, in a dead, flat calm,

a lifeboat could certainly carry

perhaps 70 or even 80 women
and children.

And instead some lifeboats
left the side of the Titanic

with a handful of passengers.

As a result, the death toll was
far higher than it needed to be.

Some reports claim that Smith
failed to take charge

as the crisis worsened
around him.

Now, is this negligence...
Criminal negligence?

Is this a complete failure of
the command structure on board?

Or is it that Captain Smith had
some sort of mental collapse?

I think it's Captain Smith
had a mental collapse.

I think the magnitude
of the coming disaster

was just too much for him
and he was paralyzed.

100 years later, could
the Costa Concordia's captain

also have been overwhelmed
by events?

One fact is certain:

he failed to ensure
that his passengers knew

the ship was in danger.

They were left confused by the
lack of any useful information.

We were asking them,

"What's going on,
what should we do?"

They would tell us,

"We have no information,
we have no information."

We just really didn't
know where to go.

Some people were screaming,
"Go to your cabin,"

and some people were saying,
"Go to the muster station."

And ended up just
standing around

just waiting and waiting,
you know, what we do from here?

The lack of directions made
a bad situation even worse.

You need to provide them
with accurate information...

You don't want to give them
too much information

so that they're overloaded...

And you have to provide
the information

in an authoritative way.

When people don't know
what's going on,

or they don't have a firm grasp

of what the gravity
of the situation may be,

they'll start to panic.

Then, ten minutes
after the collision,

all the lights went out.

Passengers were literally
left in the dark,

told only there was
an electrical fault.

Behalf of the captain
to inform you

that due to an electrical fault
which is currently under control

we are currently in a blackout.

Our technicians are working
to resolve the situation

and we'll inform you of
developments as they occur.

No, it's better if you sit down.

Sit down?


The cruise line was saying,
"Everything is fine."

So that was...

that was false information
the cruise line was generating.

Despite the crew's
reassuring words,

some passengers suspected that
the situation was getting worse.

Just seeing the look
on the staff's face,

you know,
deer-in-the-headlights look,

it just kind of sunk in
this is for real.

My wife and I

looked at each other

and we said,
"They're full of it."

I said, "We have to get off
this ship."

Different people reacted
in different ways.

Some simply could not grasp
the reality of the situation...

That the ship was sinking.

Well, at first
when I saw the water

starting to seep
into the hallway,

I ignored it at first, like,
"It's not really happening."

It just, you know...

I mean, we were in denial.

That just doesn't happen.

That doesn't happen
on your honeymoon,

and it's not possible
in this day and time

that a huge cruise ship
like that could sink.

Denial can be a normal reaction.

The initial response is actually
not to respond at all.

There's a tendency to continue
doing what you're doing,

and it takes some time

before people actually disengage
from their normal activities.

Other passengers decided
to see for themselves

what was going on.

We decided to go
up to the 12th deck

and see for ourselves
what was going on,

and we looked over the rail.

The ship is leaning,
and it's leaning more and more.

We knew this was so serious.

Finally, around an hour
after the collision,

Captain Schettino gave the order
to abandon ship.

At this point it literally
was too late.

He had run the clock out
on his own passengers and crew.

Lifeboats were quickly filling
up with panicky passengers.

These men were just pushing

and shoving their way
into the lifeboats.

We went to one lifeboat, and it
looked like it was getting full,

so we went to the next one.

The full consequences
of Captain Schettino's delay

in ordering "abandon ship"
now became clear.

Concordia was listing heavily.

Lowering the port-side lifeboats
turned into a nightmare.

This was Nancy and Mario's
designated lifeboat.

It was listing probably
about 20 degrees or so,

maybe a little bit more.

And as the lifeboat
was lowering,

it just dropped
and went into a freefall.

And all the people
went flying to one side.

This is when we really, really
thought this was it for us.

And then you could hear,
as they were lowering it,

it just screeched down
the side of the ship.

It just scraped, and then
finally we got on the water

and everybody just clapped.

Meanwhile, Captain Schettino
had left the ship,

claiming he accidentally fell
from the side into a lifeboat.

In addition, he refused
the demands of the Coast Guard

that he return to his post.

To be able to understand the
situation as to what's going on,

you have to be onboard
the vessel to direct that,

you have to see what's going on.

There is no forgiveness
for abandoning ship

and leaving your charges
somewhere else.

The behavior of this captain,
if it is true that he left

prior to all the passengers
being evacuated from the ship,

it runs entirely against
every code that I'm aware of

and all the behavior
of every captain I've ever met.

Schettino never did return
to his ship.

But hundreds of his passengers
remained trapped on board.

Honeymooners Megan and Robert

were looking for a way
onto the boat deck.

I don't think either one of us

ever ran as fast
as we've ever ran.

It seemed like that hallway
was forever and ever.

Just trying to get
up to those stairs.

And it was harder to run because
it was tilting at that time.

But even once on the deck,

they could not find
a usable lifeboat.

Nobody was really helping.

It was just pretty much
every man for himself.

They were fresh out of options.

That's when I turned
to her and I said,

"We're gonna have to swim."

Rushing to the starboard side,
now listing towards the water,

they saw a lifeboat
passing below.

And we leaped over the railing

and dropped down, I'd say
a good eight-to ten-foot drop.

The couple was amazingly lucky.

They landed on the lifeboat,

just before Concordia
finally rolled on her side.

Other passengers
were forced to make

a frightening hand-over-hand
descent in the dark

on a rope laid across
the capsized ship's hull.

It was almost like a dream when
we finally got onto the island,

and just looking back,

just seeing what
we had just come from.

32 people never made it at all.

It took months to recover
some of the bodies.

Francesco Schettino was placed
under house arrest,

facing charges of multiple

causing a shipwreck,

abandoning ship when passengers
were still on board

and failing to communicate
with maritime authorities.

But, as the inquiries continue,

it emerged that some credit
may be owed Schettino

for acting to save
the lives of hundreds.

One of the decisions

that apparently was made

and certainly saved lives,

was getting the ship
onto the beach

and putting it in a position

where it wouldn't sink
into deep water.

The chaos of
the Costa Concordi a sinking

has thrown a spotlight
on the standards of training

and emergency preparedness
for crew members,

even those whose duties mainly
involve passenger service.

Following his nautical
institute graduation,

Captain Schettino worked
for 30 years

as an officer on ferries
and in the oil industry.

But he had only worked on Costa
Line ships for four years

before captaining his first,
and ultimately only, ship,

the Concordia,
from its launch in 2006.

This is an industry
that's exploding.

There's only so many
of those truly experienced

professional mature mariners.

Training in a simulator could
help cruise ship captains

to react more effectively
in stressful situations.

Many major lines do insist
on their captains

taking simulator training
for two weeks each year,

but it's only
a voluntary arrangement.

In aviation, by contrast,

ongoing training
is a legal necessity.

Training is really important

in really emergency,
life-threatening situations

that the personnel can just slip
almost into automatic pilot,

and their behaviors become
almost a natural reaction.

Ideally, mistakes should be made
and lessons learned

on a simulator,
not in real life.

We have had some people
freeze up.

That happens, that's okay.

You know, this is
the place to do it.

In the marine industry,

we are probably
20 to 25 years behind

what the aviation industry does.

But simulators will only have
an impact on marine safety

if they become a mandated
part of crew training.

The main difference between the
aviation industry and simulation

and the maritime industry
and simulation is...

the governments of countries
who will oversee...

The FAA here
in the United States,

they require simulator training
for their pilots.

It's a law.

It's required.

We don't have that
in the marine industry yet.

The question now is:

will the Concordia disaster

produce an improvement
in training and safety

throughout the cruise industry,

as the sinking of the Titanic
did a century before?

This is an opportune time

to take a look
at the size of the vessels

and the way that we operate
these vessels.

The cruise industry
is reviewing safety procedures

in light of the Concordia

Lifeboat drills are now held
before a ship leaves port.

It's not yet known what
other changes are in store.

But has the sinking
of Costa Concordia

decreased the public's appetite
for taking a vacation cruise?

Even guitarist Moss Hills,

despite his traumatic experience
aboard the sinking ship Oceanos,

retains his enthusiasm
for life aboard ship.

In fact, when the cruise ship
Achille Lauro caught fire

125 miles off the coast
of Somalia in 1994,

there was a familiar face
among the entertainment staff.

It was incredible.

I could hardly believe
that I was on another ship

that was sinking.

It just didn't seem possible,
but it was.

The fire had started
in the engine room

and spread through the ship.

Moss was once again involved
in helping passengers escape,

but even that hasn't
kept him away from the sea.

I've cruised for many years
after I sank twice,

and I've never had a problem
again, and I still love it.