The pictures of the cruise ship disaster off the coast of Italy are truly awful and a personal tragedy to all those who have lost loved ones. These images are also potentially immensely damaging to the owners of the ship, Carnival, but also to other cruise operators.
Type into Google the words "cruise ship" and the majority of results on the first page are about the Costa Concordia. All stories are full of speculation as to what went wrong and who is to blame.
Apart from the actions of the crew which resulted in the sinking, there is speculation about their actions as the ship sank as well which, even if unfounded, will have caused immense reputational damage to Carnival but maybe to the cruise industry more broadly. This could have been avoided if:
- Carnival had made a spokesperson available at the site of the disaster as soon as possible;
- This spokesperson had held regular update press briefings which would have filled the information vacuum and provided positive pictures for the 24 hour news channels;
- Carnival had expressed remorse as to what has happened rather than trying to apportion blame.