The Sinking of the Costa Concordia and Italy’s Rules of Safety

Time has just published my piece on what the wreck of the Costa Concordia tells us about Italy:

In the wreck of the Costa Concordia, the cruise ship that rent its hull against the offshore shallows of the Italian island of Giglio, the world was treated to an exhibition of both the best and the worst of the Italian approach to disaster.

On one side stands the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, who seems to have thrown procedure to the wind when he reportedly diverted the 1,500-cabin luxury liner from the deep water route usually traveled by ships of its size and pulled the vessel to within 150 m from shore. Prosecutors allege that Schettino chose the maneuver to provide inhabitants of the island with a multi-story spectacle of deck lights, a show-off stunt enhanced by a blast of the ship’s sirens. At least eleven people were killed when the nearly 310-m long vessel capsized dramatically not far from shore less than an hour later. Another 28 of the more than 4,200 people on board remain missing.

Read the rest.