Costa Cruises, the owner/operator of the Costa Concordia, which went down nearly a year ago with the loss of 32 passengers and crew, is building a replacement. The construction of the 132,500 ton Costa Diadema began in Italy Monday.
The ship is being constructed in the Fincantieri shipyard and will carry 4,947 passengers. The Costa Diadema will be the largest of the Costa Cruises fleet and the biggest cruise ship in the world to fly the Italian flag. The line underwent hard times after the Jan. 13 tragedy, widely blamed on the actions of the captain, Francesco Schettino, alleged to have taken the Costa Concordia too close to the island of Giglio in the Tuscan Bay to 'salute' a retired colleague. She hit a reef and capsized.
Costa Cruises CEO: Company growing
Bookings for the cruise line plummeted after the capsizing but rebounded and building the Costa Diadema is considered an indicator the company has weathered the storm. Michael Thamm, the CEO of the line, said that "the construction of the C.D. is a tangible commitment to the future growth of our company."
The ship is expected to be completed by October of 2014 and will carry a price tag of some $6.5 billion. Schettino, meanwhile, after a recent preliminary hearing, waits to see if he will go to trial on charges of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning a ship; it is likely he will.