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Some more information has emerged during the evening:

First, the number of missing has been reduced to about 40, from 70. There’s no increase in the number of official fatalities, so presumably the reduction is due to locating survivors on the island.

Secondly, the president of Costa has made a couple of comments. He’s clarified the Initial sequence of events: the ship “experienced a blackout after hitting a big rock”. There had been some speculation that the power failure came first and she had hit the rocks as a result of having no propulsion or manoeuvring capability, but apparently not – it would seem that the ship was under command and power when the first collision occurred. The Costa president also said that normal evacuation had become “almost impossible” because the list developed so quickly.

The third development is that it has become clear that the routine muster station drill had not been held: it was apparently scheduled for Saturday afternoon. There again, Saturday’s port of call was Savona, which might be the official starting location of the cruise. (I know from personal experience that the Italian lines run ‘bus route’ cruises with people getting on and off at all of the ports, and a full muster drill is only held at one of them.) There seem to be accounts from some survivors that they didn’t know what to do or where to go.

I think the investigation into this disaster will need to cover a wide range of topics.

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