The sight of the giant cruise ship Costa Concordia listing in the deadly embrace of the sea is a now a graphic symbol of failure. Its timing is absolutely eerie, coming so close to the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. But, unlike the Titanic, this disaster did not take in the middle of the ocean, far from the range of observation. The Costa Concordia appears to be almost touching the rocky Italian coastline. The digital revolution ensures that we are all able to see the wreck of the ship in living color.

And then came the story. It appears that Captain Francesco Schettino deliberately took the Costa Concordia off its assigned course in order to bring the giant vessel dangerously close to the Tuscan coastline so that a crew member could greet his family. During the maneuver, the ship hit a submerged outcropping of rock, tearing a massive hole in the hull. Within seconds, the Captain knew the ship was in trouble, and he brought the fast-sinking ship to rest on a reef, listing heaving on its starboard side.

Within minutes, local authorities launched a rescue operation. Thankfully, the accident took place close to shore, and the captain had been able to crash the ship onto the reef, preventing it from fully sinking. Nevertheless, massive portions of the ship’s interior space quickly filled with the cold and dark water. The death toll could rise to as many as 40 or more. As of Wednesday night, eleven deaths had been confirmed, and another 24 passengers and crew remained missing. Authorities cited movement of the vessel and conditions on board as an indication that further rescues were unlikely….

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