Sunday 28 April 2019
Woman on Costa Concordia: a missing story of heroic alacrity
Passenger Concetta Robi seem to be to be the oddly obscured principal female character and a hero in the Costa Concordia disaster story.There’s no picture of her on the internet. She’s barely visible in the public discussions. Her helpful daughter is un-named.
This absence got my attention when I was reading one of the latest analyses of the ship that ran aground off Isola del Gigli, in January 2012. The Tuscany sinking brought 32 deaths and major publicity about the captain’s behaviour.
Marine consultant Captain Michael Lloyd has just (22 April) posted part 3 of his discussion: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/voices-costa-concordia-part-3-damage-decisions-michael-lloyd/
His evaluation contains very useful material about the way people – even captains - freeze and act irrationally in such disasters.But among the people who did not freeze was Concetta Robi.
The story is that initially the crew gave false information to passengers to allay panic telling them it’s only an electrical problem, go back to your cabins. We’ve got it all in hand.
In fact, as Lloyd says,
'instead began a loss of confidence in the shipboard leadership. As the delay in any decisive action continued, passengers now began to make their own decisions regardless of those in authority.
'Indeed, it was a passenger, not the bridge staff, who alerted the shore authorities.
'Somewhere on the ship, an Italian woman, named Concetta Robi, took out her cell phone and dialled her daughter in the central Italian town of Prato, near Florence.
‘She described scenes of chaos, ceiling panels falling, waiters stumbling, passengers scrambling to put on life jackets.
'The daughter telephoned the police.’
As a result the rescue process got under way, helped by Senora Robi’s accuracy after the misreporting by ship’s crew.
Why is this woman not credited for her role?
Because she’s not a maritime professional, but a passenger and a woman - and one who excelled, implicitly showing up male crew?