Business, Economics and Jobs

Costa Cruises launches new ship, says business is good


The Costa Fascinosa, the new flagship of the Italian passenger fleet and Costa Cruises built at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard, leaves Venice on May 6,2012, crossing the sea in front of St. Mark square. A huge public relations exercise marked the entry into service of the 114,500 tonne Costa Fascinosa, sister-ship of the ill-fated Costa Concordia which ran aground and capsized off northwest Italy on January 13 with the loss of 32 lives.

Costa Cruises said confidence in the company had already returned and that bookings on the company's new cruiseliner — the Costa Fascinosa — were ahead of forecasts, Britain's Independent newspaper reported.

The comments, by chief executive Pier Luigi Foschi, came on the day Costa christened its biggest ship ever, the 3,800-passenger Costa Fascinosa — a sister ship to the doomed Concordia.

Meanwhile, Costa President Gianni Onorato, quoted by the Miami Herald reported, said that data from the black box from the deadly Jan. 13 grounding of Concordia off Italy would likely be made public this summer, with a trial expected to start by the end of the year.

Captain Francesco Schettino, in command of the vessel when it ran aground, faces criminal charges including manslaughter and abandoning the ship as she began to sink, before the passengers had been evacuated. He is under house arrest in Italy.

Onorato said Costa Cruises would “never forget the victims’’ and outlined new safety rules implemented in the wake of the Concordia disaster.

Under the new rules, Costa passengers will receive emergency training before the ship leaves port and officers in uniform must be present during safety training, which is to be conducted in English and five European languages.

"This ensures the training has proper solemnity and gives guests an opportunity to ask any questions or express concerns they might have directly with an officer," Costa said in a statement cited by CNN.  

At least 30 people were killed when Costa Concordia ran aground off the Italian island of Giglio.

Some survivors complained that they had not been instructed in emergency procedures.

The new $665 million Costa Fascinosa, meantime, features upgraded safety measures, including a real-time route monitoring system and electronic tracking of guest safety training, CNN reported.

Fascinosa makes her maiden voyage on Friday, sailing from Venice to Croatia, Greece, Turkey and Israel.