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Coast Guard to help in Costa Concordia grounding investigation

Costa Concordia

The U.S. Coast Guard will be part of Italian-led investigation into the grounding and partial sinking of the Italian-owned cruise ship Costa Concordia in January.

Coast Guard said on Nov. 19, that it would participate with the National Transportation Safety Board in the Italian marine casualty investigation into the tragic maritime episode off the coast of Italy in early 2012.

On January 13, the ship struck a rock in the Tyrrhenian Sea just off the eastern shore of Isola del Giglio, off the western coast of Italy, tearing a 160 foot gash in the hull.

The incident left 32 people dead, including two Americans. Questions remain about passenger evacuation and the captain’s actions immediately after the ship struck the rock.

Evidence, timeline, analysis, conclusion(s), recommendations and a draft report are to be formalized over the next few months of the investigation, said the Coast Guard.

In announcing its participation in the investigation, the Coast Guard said it places the highest priority on the safety of passenger vessels, including domestic and foreign vessels that board passengers in the U.S. and travel with them world-wide, ensuring they are in compliance with applicable international and domestic safety standards.

The Coast Guard said it routinely participates in casualty investigations, even those taking place overseas, and leads efforts at the International Maritime Organization to improve maritime safety, security and environmental protection standards.

The Coast Guard noted its participation and NTSB’s participation in the casualty investigation is consistent with generally accepted international marine casualty investigation practices and with the Coast Guard’s statutory authority.