When 2,100 passengers boarded the Costa neoClassica on November 28, 2017, little did they know how close they would come to utter destruction!
The cruise ship, whose originally planned route was from Kochi to Maldives, received a message the next day, warning the captain of the possibility of a storm.
No other messages reached the ship. Without any other directions to go on, the captain, who cannot be named as per the company’s policy, took the decision of steering the ship, and its 2,100 passengers 480 kilometres east.
It was only later that the passengers aboard the ship realised that the captain had steered them away from Cyclone Ockhi, whose winds had wreaked havoc upon the intended route for the cruise ship.
Nonetheless, despite avoiding the brunt of the storm, the Costa neoClassica was subject to tumultuous waters, as heavy waves rocked the boat for almost 24 hours, according to passengers C Narayanan and A Joy, who had boarded the ship from Kochi.
Finally, on December 1st, passengers were taken to shore in smaller boats, as per schedule, and later flown to Trivandrum.
While Costa, the agency which owns the ship, indicated that all standard procedures had been followed and that the staff was skilled enough to handle several situations which require quick thinking and action, to C Narayanan and A Joy, it felt as though the captain had not only saved their lives, but also the lives of their families, as told to Manorama Online.