Cruise Ship Accident

16 January 2012

Giglio Island - First a thud, then the lights went out.

It was around 21:30, just two and a half hours after the Costa Concordia set sail on Friday on what was to have been a sparkling Mediterranean cruise.

Two long whistles, then one short, signalled a problem.

The more than 3 000 holidaymakers aboard had little time to find their bearings aboard the massive vessel when it ran aground off the coast of Tuscany as many, clad in glittering evening wear, were sitting down to dinner. According to survivor Joel Pavageau, "The captain was saying in five, six languages, 'Don't panic'. I got the feeling I was living my last moment."

Then, 40 minutes after the impact, the ship began listing badly.

Seven short whistles and one long were then sounded: abandon ship!

Scenes of chaos ensued, as passengers scrambled to their cabins in search of life vests or to the fourth deck where the lifeboats were. At least 100 simply jumped into the cold water, risking broken limbs and hypothermia.

Travel insurance provides cover as follows:

  • Injured passengers: We will pay for the medical expenses (including doctor’s fees, hospital expenses & transport to nearest suitable hospital as well as repatriation back to SA when “fit to fly”)
  • Death: We will pay the Personal Accident benefit (depending on the policy purchased, it could be up to R1,000,000), and repatriation of mortal remains
  • Curtailment costs: Under our Comprehensive cover we have “Cancel for Any Reason” cover. Normally the cruise liner will (should?) reimburse the travellers for their cruise, however they might feel so traumatised that they want to cancel the rest of their trip (might have additional travel and accommodation that is not related to the cruise). We will reimburse up to 50% of these costs under the Cancel for Any Reason benefit.
  • Personal belongings: We will pay up to the sum insured (depending on the type of policy purchased) for any items that are lost, or recovered but damaged.
  • Loss of passport: We will pay up to R2,000 to obtain a replacement passport, and will also provide the traveller with assistance (consular referral, etc.)
  • Repatriation of children: Additional travelling costs in returning your children under 18 years home if you are incapacitated.
  • 24 Hour assistance services: Our call centre will assist with emergency travel and accommodation arrangements, transfer of emergency funds, urgent message relay, etc.