Costa Concordia – the Inchino, Costa Management & the Web

L'inchino al Faraglioni di Capri, an unidentified cruise ship "bowing" to the Faraglioni rocks

The dangerous practice of the “inchino,” Italian for “bow” and often translated as “salute,”  appears to be widespread and not limited to Costa.  The “inchino” is performed by sailing a ship close to an island or port and blowing the ship’s horn, figuratively bowing or saluting the port. It now appears that such a “bow” resulted in the grounding and sinking of the Costa Concordia off Giglio. While the practice may not be limited to Costa, the suggestion that Costa was not aware of the practice and did not approve of it, seems unlikely.

Italian news site, Napoli de Vivere, has featured a photograph of an unidentified cruise ship (not a Costa Crociere ship) passing between the famous cliffs of the Isle of Capri, the Faraglioni, from a video shot on September 24, 2006.  Navi da crociera: inchino anche ai faraglioni di Capri  They comment:  Apparently, the passage of the cruise ship Costa Concordia, near the coast of the island of Giglio was not an isolated case. Captains like to greet the coast, close to the mainland, attracting the attention of the people and astound the passengers, but the danger of certain maneuvers is not worth a salute, and tragically, we realized these days that can never be too cautious.

A week ago, Costa Crociere chairman and CEO Pier Luigi Foschi blamed the grounding of the Costa Concordia on an ”inexplicable” error by the captain.  Mr. Foschi said: “This route was put in correctly. The fact that it left from this course is due solely to a manoeuvre by the commander that was unapproved, unauthorised and unknown to Costa.”  He went on to say that the captain had sailed close to land to “show the ship to the port” and to “make a salute“.  Captain Francesco Schettino, on the other hand, said he was ordered to carry out the manoeuvre by Costa Crociere.

There is a heated argument on the internet over what the Costa management knew and whether it approved of the “inchino.”   We have previously posted that the mayor of Giglio, referred to the “bow” or “salute” as a “nice tradition.”   Residents of the island have been quoted saying that the “inchino” was performed frequently by cruise ships off the island. Neverthess, Mr. Foschi asserts that the “inchino,” at least as performed on the night of Friday, January 13th, 2012 was “unapproved, unauthorised and unknown to Costa.”

Many Italian news sites and bloggers disagree strongly with Mr. Foschi.  The BlogDellaVella notes that the bow” though dangerous and absolutely forbidden by the regulations, was tacitly tolerated by the supervisory bodies and the same shipping company, Costa Cruises, which even makes a point of pride in Blog.”  They are referring to a blog post from Costa itself described how the “Costa Concordia celebrated in front of Procida.”  While the Costa blog does not use the word “inchino” the “celebration” they  describe is effectively a “bow.”

Why would Costa allow the “bow”?  GQ Italia suggests that it was part of Costa’s advertizing – BOWS FOR ADVERTISING ENCOURAGED BY COSTA AND THE CHALLENGES OF THE COMMANDERS

Cruise passengers have also been posting videos of the “inchino” from several Costa ships as well as cruise ships operated by other companies on Youtube.  A few examples:

Gae1606 posted Costa Concordia che passa vicino dall’isola del Giglio, commenting: “passage of the Concorida close to the Giglio .. This ‘bow ie the so-called’ salute to the islanders Gigliesi.”

Leopoldoeva2 posted Costa Concordia and ‘bow to Procida August 30, 2010, who comments in part: The greeting in Procida in August 2010, however, is special. In that case the festive atmosphere for the close encounter is told with great enthusiasm, even on the official blog of Costa Cruises. The company in recent days have distanced themselves from Schettino, who has declared his maneuver Lily “unauthorized” and that, following the disaster, it is considered “injured party”. “The Costa Concordia […] August 30, 2010 in Naples before arrival, expected around 13:00, he honored with his greeting, and his brief stop in the harbor of Corricella, the island of Procida.

Sebastian1969 posted “Costa Serena e l'”inchino” all’isola di Ischia” with the comment:  “End of June 2011 … The ship Costa Serena is the ‘”bow” to the island of Ischia, passing a few hundred meters from the coast, before disappearing behind the Aragonese Castle and head over Procida.

Priscillav79 posted Costa Crociere l’inchino andato bene a Sorrento with the comment: Majestic! It ‘was great to see it close, when you do not know what could happen …

Costa’s ships are not the only ones bowing to islands along their routes. Marra72 posted “Inchino MSC crociera a Stromboli” and comments “Here is the proof that the ritual of bowing brushing the coasts of the islands is customary … Here the MSC touches the island of Stromboli less than 100m from the coast!”

Another bow by also posted by Marra72 – Inchino MSC crociera allo stretto di Messina, commenting: Specifically, the town that you see in the video is Scilla (RC). Usually ships pass by Scylla, perform the bow and then veer left to head towards the Aeolian Islands.

The majority of sites that I have quoted were in Italian. As a non-Italian speaker, I relied on Google to translate. My apologies for any and all mistakes in the translations.

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4 Responses to Costa Concordia – the Inchino, Costa Management & the Web

  1. Giuseppe Izzo says:

    The unidentified cruise ship “bowing” to the Faraglioni rocks is the Seven Seas Voyager of the American company RSSC. Obvioulsy it is not only an Italian habit to take such big risks by navigating really close to the coast.

  2. Rick Spilman says:

    Agreed. The practice of “bowing” to an island, no doubt, has more to do with geography than nationality. The waters are often deep right up to shore on several islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, so the ships can put on a show, delighting the passengers and tourists ashore. Sooner or later someone had to make a mistake a cut a little too close. That is what appears to have happened on January 13th with the Costa Concordia.

  3. Capt Jayde says:

    Seeing the picture of the cruise ship passing between the rocks at Capri, makes me wonder. I suspect it may be Seven Seas Voyager. One of the Captains at that time had previously taken the Song of Flower between the rocks. He had also grounded it more than once. I saw a picture taken of the SOF passing through the gap in our head office, and the Director of Ops blanched when I explained to him that it wasn’t superimposed as he had thought, but had really passed through the gap. The company had Italian Captains, but this one would be from northern Europe.

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