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    Re: Huge cruise ship runs aground off Italy
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2012 Jan 14, 16:54 -0800

    Keith Lindsay, you wrote:
    "it would seem probable that the vessel's position is a deliberate beaching in shallower water, probably without power."

    Yes, there were reports early on that the captain attempted to beach so that they could lower the lifeboats. Modern cruise ships usually have flat-bottom hulls. Once the ship took on enough water, assuming there are not sufficient bulkheads to prevent it, it would be prone severe rolling and then listing either to port OR starboard if there's enough of a "free surface effect". The massive damage is on the port side while it settled on it starboard side. By the way, I think they were sailing northbound (they had left from Civitavecchia and also it's consistent with the damage on the port side) so they may well have had time to come about. There's a major rocky reef about half a mile south of the village that juts well out to the east. If they struck there, the little harbor may have looked like a good target for a grounding after they realized that the vessel was sinking. At least they could have jammed the bow in there.

    There were early reports that they struck an unmarked rock which, I think, is preposterous. That region is one of the best charted in the entire world. There's no way they should have been that close to shore. Either the captain was doing something stupid, maybe for a nice "photo opp", or he and his officers were focused on some minor problem while the vessel plowed towards the rocks. It wouldn't even surprise me to learn that the captain was navigating visually.

    It will be interesting to see what happens to the wreck. It's sitting on a rather steep slope. It may slide deeper, especially if there is a severe storm soon. I can't imagine that it could be re-floated for any reasonable price. The scale is hard to appreciate. That enormous gash in the port side is 300 feet long, but that's less than one-third of the ship's length.

    -FER
    PS: Titanic centennial coming up in three months...

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