As the Costa Concordia shifts on its rocky perch, search-and-rescue efforts have been temporarily halted. Yesterday the death toll rose to 11 after divers removed five more bodies from the dark abyss. Meanwhile, 23 passengers remain missing.
Amid the choppy waters a glimmer of hope emerged: all of the ship’s 17 fuel tanks appear to be intact, thus diminishing the likelihood of a significant environmental disaster. Officials nevertheless caution the vessel could still slip into deeper waters off the Tuscan coast and that salvage efforts, including siphoning more than 500,000 gallons of fuel, hinge upon effectively stabilizing the ship.
“From what I understand, [the Costa Concordia] is insured at 264 million euros for the hull,” Woods explains. “If the cost of raising and repairing the vessel exceeds that, then she would be declared a constructive total loss. In that case, the hull insurance would pay out both the maximum on the hull plus a separate increased value (IV) policy in the amount of 131 million euros.”
“[The initial outcome] could have been more like the Titanic, had the collision not happened so close to shore,” Woods says. “Remember that the Titanic was out at sea and also battling bad weather.”
The Concordia tragedy, however, underscores concerns raised by many marine insurance experts over the last few years.