Concordia Flies the Blue Peter!

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Papa (formerly known as Blue Peter), courtesy of

For the first time in over 2 years, the raised hulk of the Costa Concordia hoisted the Blue Peter, the flag now simply known as Papa that indicates a ship is ready to sail. And so, tugs rotated her and headed nor’nor’east and away from the coast of the Isola del Giglio. Exceptional photographic coverage of the moment can be found here.

It is strange coincidence that led to our cataloguing a book just yesterday on the Concordia that was published in 2006. Entitled simply Costa Concordia, this lovely book by Tiziana Lorenzelli gives the reader a great sense of the splendor of the liner just after it was launched. It was clearly the pride of Costa Crociere, the cruise ship company that had the liner built. This book is rather haunting to me in the same way our Titanic materials are. People died aboard this ship, and it is hard to square the beauty of it with its terrible fate and the tragedy of 32 lives confirmed lost.   Read more

She Floats!

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Well, actually, she doesn’t. The Costa Concordia, that is.

We have been covering the shipwreck and massive salvage operation of Concordia since almost the very beginning of our Port of Call blog. Bill Edwards-Bodmer brought it to our attention in a short post on January 16, 2012 (see it here). At that point, no one knew that 2 1/2 years later, that ship would still be off of the island of Giglio.   Read more

SS Normandie vs Costa Concordia

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The wreck of the Costa Concordia

The Costa Concordia disaster is not the first time a large cruise liner has come to rest on its side.  To some who are well-versed in maritime news and shipwrecks, the images of the cruise ship Costa Concordia lying on her side off the Italian coast might look familiar.  In 1942, a top-of-the-line cruise ship, the Normandie, was undergoing conversion to become a troop transport ship in New York Harbor when she caught fire and capsized, coming to rest on her side, much like Costa Concordia.

Harvey Ardman’s Normandie: Her Life and Times, from the Library’s stacks, provides a very detailed history of this legendary ship.  Construction began on the Normandie in early 1931.  At the time she would be the largest ship ever built: 1,029 ft. long with a maximum breadth of 119 ft., weighing in at a staggering 27,675 tons.  Compare this to Costa Concordia‘s 952 ft. long and 116 ft. wide.  Normandie was launched in October 1932, then spent three years being outfitted for her maiden voyage in 1935.   Read more

Looters already haul off a prize

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With the bodies of the dead still trapped inside the hull, looters have lost no time in making off with Costa Concordia’s ship’s bell. Evading 24-hour surveillance by the Italian Coast Guard and complicated laser systems measuring tiny shifts in the ship’s position, thieves removed the bell probably 2 weeks ago.  The news was reported this morning on the website  See the full story here.

I have always loved ship’s bells and am particularly disheartened by this despicable act.  So I thumbed through a book at the library, “The Ship’s Bell: Its History and Romance,” by Karl Wade, to see how salvaged bells tend to get used.  Not only did I find  that there are a great many people who share a love of the bell and all that it symbolizes, but I also discovered something about The Mariners’ Museum that I didn’t know.  It turns out that we may have the oldest ship’s bell in America, salvaged from the bottom of the York River in 1934 off a British warship sunk in 1781.  Collections Management dates this bell as early as 1750.   Read more