PlanB Consulting

Costa Concordia

This week’s bulletin has to be on the Costa Concordia sinking and I thought I would share the following 5 thoughts with you.

1. The ship had some of the most sophisticated navigation systems on any ship and she still hit the rocks. Does your business continuity plans take in to account human error, probably, but do they think about someone deliberately not sticking to procedures and overriding the controls which are in place to prevent an incident?

2. The passengers hadn’t carried out their evacuation rehearsal before they had to do it for real. This resonates with my New Year’s message of “be prepared”. Don’t put off your exercises and rehearsals as the incident could occur tomorrow.

3. There is a lesson for all of us in how well the Italian authorities coped with the survivors once they were on shore. They came ashore with wet clothes and no possessions including money and passports, on a small island with limited resources, but in the media I have heard no complaint about their treatment and their arrangements for getting home. In a disaster it is often how you treat the survivors once they are safe which can colour the lasting perception of an incident. When the US Airways plane landed on the Hudson River the company was commended on how well it looked after the passengers, replaced essential possessions and got them to their final destinations.

4. Look at the Costa Cruises website www.costacruises.co.uk and notice how they are dealing with the incident. I think they have done well in admitting responsibly for the incident and they have shown sympathy for the dead and injured. There is a short clip of the CEO Pierluigi Foschi on the website making a statement at a press conference. In an incident it is critical that a senior member of the company faces up the media and is shown to be sympathetic, credible and admits responsibility, not liability for the incident.

5. This time of the year is the peak time for booking cruises. I have looked on a number of cruise vendors websites and there is no mention of the Costa incident. As the sinking is worldwide news everybody is probably thinking if they want to book a cruise, will their cruise be safe. I believe instead of burying their head in the sand, they should have an area on their website where they could reassure their potential customers that their cruise will be safe. This retweet I saw sums it up very well; “saying as little as possible and hoping for the best is not a crisis communications strategy!”

Lastly I saw this headline and thought it summed up the Captain perfectly.

About Charlie Maclean-Bristol

Charlie Maclean-Bristol is one of the Founders and Directors of PlanB Consulting. He is also the Training Director of Business Continuity Training Ltd., a UK-based training provider accredited by the Business Continuity Institute. Charlie is a former Business Continuity Institute board member and one of the very few Fellows of both the Emergency Planning Society and the Business Continuity Institute.

A former Infantry Captain in the British Army, Charlie held several emergency planning, business continuity and crisis management positions within the energy and utility industry before founding PlanB Consulting in 2007. Over the past twelve years, Charlie has delivered business continuity consultancy in 6 of the worlds 7 continents, frequently providing full business continuity roll-outs to organisations of all sizes and in all sectors.

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