Following the signal to abandon ship, it took Costa Cruises just under three hours to release their first statement. The company confirmed the evacuation of approximately 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crewmembers from the Costa Concordia. The press release stated that at the time, the cause of the incident could not be confirmed and assured the public that they were “working with the highest commitment to provide all needed assistance to guests, crew members and the local Italian authorities”. The statement poses questions by stating that “approximately 1,000 passengers of Italian nationality were on board, as well as more than 500 Germans, and 250 North Americans. This only accounts for half of the number of passengers. Costa should have left out this information until they could provide a more detailed breakdown.
The second statement Costa Cruises released was at 5:10 a.m. This standard press release expressed the company’s condolences and concern to the victims’ families and friends. Costa stated that their number one priority at the time was to provide assistance to the guests and crew who were on board to facilitate their return home as soon as possible. The company thanked the Coast Guard and all people involved in the rescue and they stated that they “will fully cooperate with the relevant authorities to determine the causes of the accident”.
The final statement from Costa Cruises released on January 14th at 6:30 p.m. included quotes from the president of the company, Gianni Onorato. Onorato explains that he had not previously been able to speak on behalf of Costa because he was on the island of Giglio to be close to the rescue operations. He expressed the company’s sorrow and thanked all who provided assistance to guests and crew. He stated that the ship struck a submerged rock and the captain then initiated security procedures to prepare for evacuation.
The first statement released by Carnival Corporation & plc was at 3:45 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on January 14th. The company stated the facts that the Costa Concordia struck rock and the order to abandon ship was given. The statement acknowledged the tragedy and offered the company’s condolences to the families, while offering vague support in the words of “Carnival Corporation & plc and Costa Cruises are committing our full resources to provide assistance and ensure that all guests and crew are looked after.” The key messages conveyed in this statement were that the company was actively involved in determining the cause of the incident and the safety of their guests and crew were their number one priority.
The statement ended with an actionable element, which reflected their concern and responsibility. Country specific contact numbers were provided for families and friends to find out the status of their loved ones who were aboard the Costa Concordia.
On January 15th at 10:30 PM Central European Time, Costa Cruises released their third update on the Costa Concordia. The company mirrored the key messages delivered by its parent; Carnival Corporation & plc by stating, “We are working closely with the authorities to support ongoing search and rescue operations, and are focusing on ensuring that all guests and crewmembers return home safely.” Also, “We are working with investigators to find out precisely what went wrong aboard the Costa Concordia.”
The company continued by boldly stating that they believed it was human error on the part of the ship’s Master, Captain Francesco Schettino, which lead to the disaster and that his judgment in handling the emergency did not follow company procedures. Costa attempts to direct the blame solely on the captain with this, though the investigation is ongoing. If the prosecutor determines that the company was also at fault, this will make them look very bad.
Costa concluded the statement by providing a detailed background on their commitment to safety in an attempt to debunk...
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