When the massive Costa Concordia came into service in 2006, it was the largest Italian-built ship in the world. But the ship's life was short-lived. Late in the evening on January 13, 2012 the Costa Concordia capsized and sank off Isola del Giglio, Tuscany, with a total of 4,234 people on board. 32 were killed. Captain Francesco Schettino quickly was nicknamed "Captain Coward" and sentenced to 16 years in prison for causing the accident and on multiple counts of manslaughter. Now, four years since the disaster, a team of 200 have been busy dismantling the giant ship. The Costa lays outside Genoa, and coming in close contact with the ship is limited to a very few people. One German photographer, however, named Jonathan Danko Kielkowski refused to listen to the Coast Guard's orders. He swam 200 meters out to the wreckage, armed with his camera. His photos, just recently released, are now spreading by thousands. Take a look for yourself below and you'll understand why.
Late on Friday evening, January 13, 2012, the cruise ship hit an underwater rock obstruction and began to sink. That same day, over 3,200 passengers and 1,000 staff from 70 different countries had embarked on what should have been a beautiful Mediterranean cruise. 32 people died in the accident.
Now, the ghostly wreckage remains off the Italian port city of Genoa. Extensive work continues to try to disassemble the 290-meter-long Costa Concordia, piece by piece.
One side of the ship was under seawater for 20 months, causing some parts of the ship to rot and rust. Other parts remain in better and more recognizeable condition.
Fascinated by the abandoned ship, German photographer Jonathan Danko Kielkowski swam out to the wreck to record the disaster – from inside. He had to swim about 200 meters to get there.
The photographer had made a previous attempt to get on board the Costa Concordia, but was arrested by the Italian Coast Guard.
This time, he boarded the abandoned ship and managed to capture extraordinary things with his camera. Despite the large amounts of debris, much could still be seen, such as these emerald green details.
The ship’s casino is almost unrecognizable…
Corrosion from water damage heavily damaged the various slot machines.
Abandoned luggage, wheelchairs, strollers, and other personal belongings laid scattered along the narrow corridors.
Here are remnants of the ship’s piano bar, one of the 13 bars on the Costa Concordia. It looks to be in surprisingly good condition.
And here, the luxury cruise ship’s entertainment center, its theater. After more than a year in the water, the ceiling was essentially lost and the stage is far from its former glory.
The giant ship had 13 decks and about 1,500 cabins. This large painting seems to have kept rather well.
“Against all odds, I find the shipwreck freely accessible – neither fences nor security personnel. Rather, the doors are open, lights are turned on, no man can be seen,” photographer Danko Kielkowski told The Guardian.
The vessel also had four swimming pools, two with retractable roofs, five jacuzzis, five spas, and a movie theater on the main pool deck.
The recovery of the Costa Concordia is described as the hardest and most expensive in maritime history.
The bill for the whole disaster, including the dismantling of the ship, is estimated to cost nearly USD $1.75million.
Captain Francesco Schettino had greatly misled authorities about the disaster: “We had a power outage… the most we will need is a tug,” he had told the Italian Coast Guard.
Even if the shipwreck was a major disaster in so many ways, I am happy that this German photographer managed to document the inside. It’s absolutely fascinating to see and I think this also serves as a reminder and warning for the future. Please forward this to your friends to share these incredible peaks into the faded glory of one rather incredible ship.
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