The Italian island of Giglio: witness of an almost second Titanic.
Italians are quite superstitious, but is it only by sheer coincidence that such a huge disaster happened on Friday the 13th? In fact, that date is considered by Italians a day of misfortune and in this case the accident happened right on the day.
Italy and America have a lot in common when it comes to their sailing history and I am not only thinking of the shipping of Italian emigrants to American shores in the early 1900s. The disaster of the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia has been compared to that of the Titanic, which sunk at 1000 miles from Boston in 1912.
There are, nevertheless, a few differences: the Costa Concordia, for example, was not so far from the coast, which was in fact the very cause of the tragedy: its captain, Francesco Schettino, drew up so close to the coastline of the Giglio's Island that some sharp reefs broke the ship, causing its sinking.
The cruise ship followed a tour entitled "Profumi del Mediterraneo", scents of the Mediterranean. It sailed away from the port of Civitavecchia with 4,220 passengers on board and included the following destinations along its route: Savona, Napoli, Palermo, Tunisi, Palma, Barcelona and Marseille.
The reasons for the captain's behavior are still to be analyzed, but he was arrested for fear of a probable escape. The number of victims amounts to 6, whereas 29 are still missing, but these numbers are not definite and they are bound to increase daily. The searches are still going on, in the hope to find more survivors. Solidarity comes from the rescue teams, as well as the very inhabitants of the island.
Adding to the tragedy, is the risk of petrol spillage from the Concordia's fuel tanks, which sparked serious fears of an environmental catastrophe: for many Italians, this is, indeed, a case of reality having become more horrific than fiction.
Three months before the centenary of the sinking of Titanic, Italian coasts were called to witness a similar tragedy: is it a mere sneering twist of fate? We will never know, but we certainly can say that a mortal fear, so strong that it also caused a death for stroke, has hit all the protagonists of the disaster and the whole international stage.