Carnival Cruises Faces Continuing Tide of Crisis with the Costa Concordia

Image: The Atlantic
Image: The Atlantic

It's been 18 months since the Costa Concordia went aground, but the ship hasn't budged an inch, according to The New York Times. What's more, the trial for Francesco Schettino, the ill-fated vessel's captain, begins on Wednesday, fanning the flames of a crisis that the parent company, Carnival Cruises, is eager to extinguish.

Schettino, pegged by British media as "Captain Coward," is facing charges for manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning his ship before all the passengers were evacuated, according to Newsday.

Removing the capsized ship, which sits off the rocky shores of Italian island, Giglio, has proven complicated. Last week, Franco Gabrielli, director of Italy's Civil Protection Agency, suggested the ship may remain where it is for another year.

The smartest PR move Carnival can make at this point is extreme transparency: Be the No. 1 news source on Schettino and the Costa Concordia; keep stakeholders up-to-date on all developments; and be proactive by publicly discussing action plans to prevent future seaborne disasters. The Costa Concordia isn't going away anytime soon, but there could be a silver lining to this shipwreck if Carnival is smart about its communications.

Register for PR News' "Media Relations Survival Tactics During a Crisis" webinar led by experts Cynthia Martinez, director of global corporate communications at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.; Mike Paul, the Reputation Doctor at MGP & Associates PR; and Ernest DelBuono, senior vice president, chair of crisis practice, at Levick.

Follow Lucia Davis: @LKCDavis.