Ten years on from the Costa Concordia sinking, an Irish couple have recalled the nightmare of that fateful day.
t was Seamus and Carol Moore’s first ever cruise holiday, and it would turn out to be their last.
The Tipperary couple spoke of their near brush with death as the world marks the 10th anniversary today of the sinking of the luxury cruise ship off Italy, which claimed 33 lives.
Mr Moore said the tragic day in 2012 was, in fact, Friday the 13th.
The total cost of the disaster – which resulted in the eight-year-old cruise ship having to be scrapped – is estimated at €1.5bn.
Nearly three dozen people died off Isola del Giglio on the Tuscan coast in the tragedy – 27 passengers, five crew members and, later, a member of the salvage team.
The sinking happened after the 114,000-tonne ship attempted a sail-by salute past Giglio, an impromptu manoeuvre that had been performed before by the captain, Francesco Schettino, to impress passengers and local people on shore.
However, the liner struck an underwater rock, listed on to its starboard side and partially capsized.
Captain Schettino, who quit his ship while 300 passengers were still trapped, was later convicted of manslaughter, shipwreck, abandoning his passengers and sentenced to 16 years in prison.
The Moores, who live in Clonmel, chose the Italian cruise break as a special holiday to mark Carol’s 50th birthday.
Recalling the night the disaster happened, they told how they feared for their lives.
“Around this time of year – I suppose it is the 10th anniversary and a lot of people have been texting me – but I just want to forget about it. We just want to move on,” Mr Moore said.
“Myself and Carol have said it is past – it’s 10 years ago and we want to leave it there. We just said, ‘Look, it is gone – let’s move on’.
“We’ve been getting lots of calls, but we made the decision we don’t want to revisit it. It’s a fact of life – it happened, but we don’t want to be any part of it.”
The Costa Concordia cruise was the first the couple had ever booked – and they never again opted for a holiday at sea.
“No, I wouldn’t be interested in another cruise. We did have to get a ship from the island back to the mainland [after the tragedy],” Mr Moore said.
“We always wanted to do a cruise. We thought it would be great to stay in the one hotel room and wake up in a different country – other than that, if you’re on the ship, you’re on the ship.
“It [the sinking] certainly helped to make the decision for us. It was our first cruise – our only cruise.”
The couple admitted that, 10 years ago, they feared they might not survive as the giant ship began to tip.
Mrs Moore said that as it began to list, her first thought was of contacting their adult and teenage children – Luke, Claire and James – in Tipperary.
“I just needed to talk to the kids because I thought we were finished,” she said. “You just wonder, how are you going to get off this ship? Then peace sort of comes over you.
“You kind of get resigned, and then you think, maybe there’s a bit of hope doing something else. So you just keep going.”
Mr Moore recalled that shortly after 9.20pm that night, he noticed the ship had started to judder and then began listing heavily.
“The boat listed and everything was crashing one way and then the next way,” he said.
“And the one thing that I did notice was that the piano player kept playing. I thought I was on the Titanic.
“When we were sitting on the side of the ship [waiting for rescuers] I said to Carol, ‘Now we know what Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet felt like’.”
His wife replied: “Well, at least Kate lived.”
“I think that’s what kept her going,” Mr Moore said.