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Italy Ship Disaster Could Affect Safety Rules On Future Cruises Worldwide

By Joe Shortsleeve, WBZ-TV Chief Correspondent
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GIGLIO PORTO, ITALY - JANUARY 16: The cruise ship Costa Concordia lies stricken off the shore of the island of Giglio, on January 16, 2012 in Giglio Porto, Italy. More than four thousand people were on board when the ship hit rocks last Friday. The official death toll is now six, with a further 16 people still missing. The rescue operation was temporarily suspended earlier due to the ship moving as it slowly sinks further into the sea. (Photo by Laura Lezza/Getty Images)

GIGLIO PORTO, ITALY – JANUARY 16: The cruise ship Costa Concordia lies stricken off the shore of the island of Giglio, on January 16, 2012 in Giglio Porto, Italy. More than four thousand people were on board when the ship hit rocks last Friday. The official death toll is now six, with a further 16 people still missing. The rescue operation was temporarily suspended earlier due to the ship moving as it slowly sinks further into the sea. (Photo by Laura Lezza/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) – Six people are confirmed dead and 16 others are still missing after last week’s Italy cruise ship disaster.

Several people from Massachusetts were on the boat and survived.

The disaster could affect future safety procedures on cruise ships worldwide.

Admiral Richard Gurnon of the Mass Maritime Academy teaches the people who sail the seas. He says it is pretty clear what mistakes the cruise ship captain made Friday night off the coast of Italy.

WBZ-TV’s Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve reports.

“I think he deviated from his planned track. He took the ship under his own command and probably maneuvered too close to the island. He must have looked at the charts and assumed he had enough water and ultimately when you see her heeled over on her side…he was wrong,” said Gurnon.

In the minutes after the crash, there was panic and chaos. Passengers said the mandatory safety drill was scheduled for Saturday afternoon, or more than 24 hours after the ship set sail. So many people did not know what to do or where to go.

Admiral Gurnon expects this tragedy will change maritime rules requiring dock side drills before departure.

“Most maritime regulations are written in blood. And this one will cause a change so that all cruise ships will be required in the future to do extensive drills,” said Gurnon. “Passengers will be donning life jackets and getting into life boats. People need to truly understand that going to sea is dangerous. It is an adventure but it should not be deadly.”

At the Maritime Academy they train the sea captains of the future. And it is clear what happened of the coast of Italy will change how they train those captains in the years to come.

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