Costa Fascinosa christened

Low-key delivery ceremony for first newbuild since Concordia tragedy
Costa Fascinosa christened

By Michele Witthaus |

The delivery of the new Costa Crociere flagship, the Costa Fascinosa, took place in the Port of Venice, Italy on Saturday 5 May.

The event, which was attended by several hundred invited guests, celebrated the completion of the 114,500 gt, 3,800-passenger vessel, built at Fincantieri’s Marghera yard. The total investment made by Costa in the vessel, which is the largest Italian-flagged passenger ship ever constructed, is €510 million. The ship has been awarded Italian Shipping Register RINA’s ‘Green Plus’ award for its compliance with environmental standards higher than current international MARPOL requirements.

The shadow of January’s Concordia tragedy hung over the Fascinosa delivery, which was more subdued than is customary for the company and included a minute’s silence and a musical tribute in honour of the stricken vessel’s victims prior to the christening of the new ship. Addressing the world’s media, Costa Crociere chairman and CEO Pier Luigi Foschi referred to “human mistakes” and said: “We have to learn our lesson with humility and introduce changes to enable us to improve our vessels from a safety point of view.”

Foschi announced the introduction of seven new safety activities which will be mandatory on all Costa Crociere ships, including the AIDA and Ibero Cruceros lines. Passenger-focused activities include following up guests who do not attend the initial safety training exercises onboard, leaving written safety instructions in each cabin, and enriching safety content on all Costa websites.

A new high-tech safety system will monitor and control ships’ positions in real time, triggering alarms if vessels deviate from agreed routes. In addition, ongoing officer training on a new bridge management model at a simulation centre in the Netherlands will widen responsibility for crucial decisions at sea. Foschi explained: “We have modified the way bridges are managed, towards a more collegiate approach with greater responsibility in the hands of officers, led by the captain.” Finally, a strengthened bridge access management policy has been introduced, following guidelines agreed in recent industry-wide discussions on the subject.

The Costa Fascinosa will sail in the Mediterranean until winter 2012/2013, when she will undertake her inaugural South American tour. Costa’s next newbuild will be a 132,500 gt ship carrying 4,928 passengers, also to be built at the Marghera yard for delivery in 2014.

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