Cooperative and competitive behaviour among passengers during the Costa Concordia disaster

Bartolucci, A, Casareale, C and Drury, J (2021) Cooperative and competitive behaviour among passengers during the Costa Concordia disaster. Safety Science, 134. a105055 1-11. ISSN 0925-7535

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Despite the increase in regulation and codes, there is a relatively small body of scientific literature on maritime disasters management, especially in terms of human factors that affect the success of the evacuation and safety procedures. This paper provides an analysis of passengers’ behaviour during the Costa Concordia disaster of 2012, in which 32 people died. We use 49 passengers’ witness statement made available by the court of Grosseto to understand how the evacuation occurred. We examine whether the main factor in reducing the effectiveness of the evacuation procedure was the lack of effective management or the behaviours among evacuees, or a combination of the two.

Results of the analysis suggest that passengers reacted with solidarity, helped each other and that such spontaneous and pro-social behaviour possibly contributed to reduce the number of casualties. By contrast, competitive behaviours happened only in relation to specific environmental constraints and were limited to the proximity of safety boats.

The deficiencies in command in the Costa Concordia evacuation highlights the need to increase the skills of personnel called to manage an emergency at sea and the need to create ad hoc training programs that consider also unexpected scenarios.

Understanding how people (both staff and public) deal with an emergency and the factors that affect their decision is pivotal to help planners to review their strategy, anticipate similar events, and consider all the factors in future plans and regulations. While human error is always a big factor in maritime disaster, its impact can be considered and mitigated with specific procedures and adaptable plans.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2020 08:32
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2020 13:15

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