The Big Story Blog

With Italian wreck, questions of cruise ship safety

Posted at 9:26 AM on January 17, 2012 by Paul Tosto

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FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images

Cruise ship travel has grown dramatically over the past decade and the ships have become gigantic. But has the safety of the ships and the training of ship officers kept pace with the exploding growth?

That's that the question up for discussion as Italian authorities piece together what happened to the cruise ship Costa Concordia, which wrecked on the rocks off an Italian island over the weekend, killing several passengers.

Some, including a White Bear Lake couple, remain among the missing.

In the U.S., the cruise business has grown dramatically during some of the nation's toughest economic times.

When problems do arise, they're usually tied to food illnesses or other issues unrelated to the sea worthiness of the ship or the competence of the captain.

With global positioning satellites and other advanced navigation technology, ships aren't supposed to run aground. Initial reports show the Italian wreck may have been human error.

How will the Italian wreck affect the cruise business in the U.S. and abroad? Does the industry need to prove that safety and training have kept up with the jump in demand the past decade?


About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.