Ship Happens

When Captain Cat beseeched his deceased lover Rosie Probert to “let me shipwreck in your thighs” in Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood, we truly doubt he meant anything resembling the fate of the Costa Concordia cruiseship which ran aground on 13 January. The disaster has claimed 11 lives so far, with more confirmed deaths expected.

The somewhat odd behaviour of the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, remains the subject of widespread speculation. Was he a cowardly deserter or, as he claims, did he merely slip off the deck and into a lifeboat? And what of the heated exchange between Schettino and Port Authority commander Gregorio de Falco?

The listing Costa Concordia off Italy's Tuscan coast, via Roberto Vongher/Wikimedia Commons.

The listing Costa Concordia off Italy's Tuscan coast, via Roberto Vongher/Wikimedia Commons.

Locally, Federal Opposition leader Tony Abbott was today under fire for making light of the tragedy on breakfast radio, remarking, “Well, that was one boat that did get stopped, wasn’t it?” He has since conceded that his comments may have been inappropriate.

David Newland, writing for Macleans.ca, has reimagined the shipwreck as an Italian opera. He casts a hero in Hungarian violinist Sandor Feher, who helped a group of children to safety before perishing whilst trying to retrieve his violin, becoming the first of the dead to be identified.

If maritime drama is your thing but you prefer your shipwrecks fictional, The Guardian’s list of their Ten Best Literary Shipwrecks may float your boat.

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