Most of us bore witness to the tragic crash of the Costa cruise ship off the coast of Italy this past January. We also learned of the rare cowardly action by the captain to jump ship rather than ride his luxury liner to the bottom of the 30-foot seas.
Now, with the Costa Allegra safely in the Seychelles, the ship's owners have been hit by claims ships in the fleet, including the Costa Concordia, were hotbeds of sexual harassment, drinking and drug abuse.
Former Costa Cruises staff have claimed to prosecutors that drug and alcohol abuse, and the use of prostitutes, took place among crews aboard the company's liners, including the doomed Concordia, which crashed into rocks off the Italian coast in January with the loss of 32 lives.
As reported in the New Zealand Herald, Valentina B, who worked as a nurse aboard the Costa Atlantica vessel in January 2010, claimed she witnessed "corruption, drugs and prostitution". The vessel was then under the command of captain Francesco Schettino. He is under house arrest, suspected of multiple manslaughter and of abandoning ship before passengers after crashing the Concordia on January 13.
Another ex-employee, known as "Mery G", said: "I worked on the Costa Concordia in 2010 for only two months ... very often the officials and crew were drunk." She also claimed she was molested by a drugged crew member.
Supposedly, these particular claims were two among hundreds of others in which drug abuse and prostitution were not mentioned, so we don't know how much credence should be given to them.
Tests have shown that Schettino had not used drugs before the Concordia collision. Some witnesses say they saw him drinking but others dispute it.
Either way, anyone who ever has been on a cruise ship knows the party atmosphere. As a 21-year-old passenger on my first cruise I partied with the crew below decks and it was one wild affair.
I would like for each cruise line to make it mandatory for all crew to take a drug and alcohol class.