Segments in this Video

Cruise Ships (02:43)


The cruise ship industry has grown rapidly in recent years, leading to larger ships that can carry more people. Statistics show cruises are safe, but the Costa Concordia disaster in 2012 raised questions.

Cruise Ship Disasters (05:37)

Costa Concordia was an Italian cruise ship owned by a subsidiary of U.S. Carnival Cruise. The ship hit a rock near an island coastline. The disaster had numerous similarities to the Titanic, which sank 100 years earlier.

Ship Building Materials (06:48)

A researcher at a maritime academy studies the types of steel used in the Titanic and Costa Concordia. Modern steel is seven times stronger than the steel used on the Titanic; Titanic's hull was held together with iron rivets.

Cruise Ship Safety Features (02:37)

Titanic had water tight compartments in case of flooding in the hull, but the bulkheads were not tall enough. In modern ships, bulkheads reach the top of the deck. Titanic and Costa Concordia had an extra layer of steel on the bottom of ship.

Cruise Ship Designs (05:14)

Cruise line owners refused to speak about the designs of their ships. Maritime experts believe design advancements are making ships unstable. The Marine Hydrodynamics Lab studies how ships float and sink.

Causes of Shipwrecks (04:22)

The Titanic hit an iceberg because look-outs did not see it; Costa Concordia had a modern navigation system. Maritime experts say the technology is only helpful if the captain and crew are well trained.

Human Error (06:42)

In 1991, the cruise ship Oceanus sank during a tropical storm. The captain and crew abandoned the ship, leaving the passengers to take charge.

Behavioral Inaction (09:31)

This action occurs when someone freezes in an extreme situation; it could explain the errors made by the captains of Titanic and Costa Concordia. The Costa Concordia passengers were given false information and started to panic.

Costa Concordia Sinks (06:57)

With the captain gone, the passengers of Costa Concordia had to find their way off the sinking ship. The sinking raised questions about the training of all crew members.

Credits: NOVA: Why Ships Sink (00:49)

Credits: NOVA: Why Ships Sink

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NOVA: Why Ships Sink

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Picking up from the Costa Concordia disaster and looking both back to the Titanic disaster a century ago, and into the future of sea travel, NOVA looks at questions about cruise ship safety and the science of the ships' buoyancy.

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL151103

Copyright date: ©2012

Closed Captioned

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