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By Lumistar's Chief Scientist

July 15, 2013

Thermal Camera Captures Passengers on Sinking Ship

Photo: Passengers form a human hand over hand chain decent in the dark to the water on a sinking cruise ship Costa Concordia 2012.

Photo: Passengers videoed with thermal camera in the dark form a human hand-over-hand chain decent down to the water where the coast guard awaits next to sinking cruise ship Costa Concordia.

Unfortunately, on January 13, 2012 due to reported captain incompetence, waiting an hour while the ship sank before telling passengers ‘abandon ship’, caused the loss of valuable time for the 4,200 passengers on board. The consequences of delay caused the clock to run out on his own passengers and crew as hundreds of passengers remained trapped on board. Some got out on lifeboats that were forced into free-fall from multiple stories high in the air due to the ship capsizing. Concordia eventually rolled on her starboard side. The passengers who were not able to make a lifeboat were forced to make a frightening hand-over-hand decent in the dark down a rope laid across the capsized ship’s hull. Rescue helicopters were able to capture the above thermal image at night. It took months to recover some of the bodies of 32 passengers that died in the wreckage. The captain was eventually charged with: multiple manslaughter, abandoning a ship, and failing to communicate with maritime authorities. The chaos of the Costa Concordia sinking has thrown a spotlight on the standards of training and emergency preparedness for all crew members including those involved with food and beverage. To see the full details of this disaster unfold watch, Why Ships Sink: Nova available on Netflix.


  1. Well stated.

    Comment by Mark R. — July 20, 2013 @ 16:01


  3. This information is magnificent. I understand and respect your clear-cut points. I am impressed with your writing style and how well you express your thoughts.

    Comment by Betty H. — August 8, 2013 @ 02:52


  5. There is nothing worse than a bad captain without experience and a backbone. A bad captain creates an instability worse than a tall ship with a high center of gravity.

    Comment by terrance r. — August 11, 2013 @ 16:44


  7. What a tragedy. Hope this is a teaching lesson of history, like that of 100 years before.

    Comment by akirak — August 11, 2013 @ 23:52


  9. The moment the captain says, ‘Don’t panic, you can go back to your room’ is the moment I’m standing next to a lifeboat.

    Comment by ImpovedNY — August 12, 2013 @ 18:06


  11. Sometimes, a cruise industry panic produced by ominous predictions by the media regarding the market can also initiate poor safety conditions. #SelfFulfillingProphecy #CuttingCorners #LiterallyNoPun

    Comment by lafeen — August 14, 2013 @ 12:14


  13. Sometimes there are things that are bad and this is worse.


    Comment by bmwki — August 14, 2013 @ 15:31


  15. I hope they were able to remove the fuel and salvage the vessel in a way that avoids ecological impact. Most of these vessels carry thousands of gallons of diesel fuel and hundreds of gallons of gasoline. That captain is an idiot.

    Comment by Betty G. — August 15, 2013 @ 08:39


  17. The sad part is just like the Titanic it doesn’t matter what your budget is, rich or poor if you have a sicko captain everyone may pay dearly with their lives.

    Btw, nice entry. Keep up the good work finding interesting stories involving thermal imaging.

    Comment by parcaps — August 15, 2013 @ 09:22


  19. Thanks for the carefully written synopsis.

    Comment by HDen — September 3, 2013 @ 16:49


  21. Hopefully this can illustrate with historical examples what not to do so it won’t happen again.

    Comment by bummip — September 3, 2013 @ 21:16


  23. Thanks for the info! Will bookmark.

    Comment by huntorki — September 4, 2013 @ 02:11


  25. I hope the temperature outside wasn’t Titanic-ish.

    Comment by Oraweer — September 4, 2013 @ 15:19


  27. Stay out of coach.

    Comment by idapork — September 4, 2013 @ 20:16


  29. I just read Thermal Camera Captures Passengers on Sinking Cruise Ship Lumistar: Thermal Imaging Blog, but I’m not sure where to go next.

    Comment by solar panel — September 15, 2013 @ 12:37


  31. Enjoyed studying this, very good stuff, appreciate it. “While thou livest keep a good tongue in thy head.” by William Shakespeare.

    Comment by Kyle L. — September 28, 2013 @ 00:04


  33. Great dеliverу. Outstandіng arguments.
    Κeeр uρ the amazing work.

    Comment by Mt. Washington — September 28, 2013 @ 05:59


  35. Very interesting information!Perfect!
    “One man’s folly is another man’s wife.” by
    Helen Rowland.

    Comment by MagneticM — September 30, 2013 @ 06:34


  37. Im thankful for the post.Really looking forward to read more. Cool.

    Comment by Fishing Lovers - Part 4 — October 16, 2013 @ 15:29


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    Comment by chinabeach — October 18, 2013 @ 09:26


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    Comment by pradag — October 18, 2013 @ 18:28


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