I don’t know if Francesco Schettino, captain of the doomed Cruise Ship Costa Concordia is a superstitious person like many people today, but Friday 13th January will be etched upon his mind for the rest of his life. When the ship was launched at Sestri Ponente on 2 September 2005, the champagne bottle failed to break, causing some to think that the vessel was jinxed and that they would not travel on it unless they had a rabbit’s foot in their pocket!
The fact that the ship capsized when it hit a rock off Isola del Giglio, west of Italy on 13th. Jan. was nothing to do with superstition but with the judgement of the Captain. He chose to deviate from the planned route to give the islanders a closer view of the Cruise Ship and to do so sailed too close to a reef.
It has been estimated that it will take ten months to recover the vessel from the rocks; the first 28 days to remove 500,000 gallons of fuel from its tanks, and salvaging costs and insurance claims could ammount to a billion pounds sterling.
The vessel had about 4200 passengers on board and all but about 30 are safely accounted for, 17 deaths have been reported and 13 are still missing.
The loss of this ship and some of the passengers and crew is a monumental tragedy caused by a monumental error of judgment.
www.shetland.gov.uk/environmentalhealth/TheGreenLily reports, ‘On Wednesday 19th November 1997, the M.V. "Green Lily" ran aground on Bressay and during the ensuing successful evacuation of the crew, Mr Billy Deacon, the winchman aboard the rescue helicopter tragically lost his life.’
The details of this unhappy event are fully recorded on another website, Shetlopedia - The Shetland Encyclopaedia On 19th November 1997 the reefer Green Lily (formerly Pacific Lily, Gomba Nile, Balkram and Gomba Endeavour) left Lerwick Harbour after loading a cargo of approx 3000 tonnes of frozen fish from the Shetland Catch factory, bound for Las Palmas, Canary Isles. After some technical details about the ship the report continues ‘Shortly after leaving harbour she suffered engine failure and in storm force south easterly winds was driven ashore on the east side of Bressay, near Grut Wick. The crew was rescued by the Lerwick Lifeboat and the Coastguard rescue helicopter from Sumburgh Airport. Sadly, after ensuring that the last crew member had been saved, Mr William Deacon, helicopter winchman, was lost to the tempest, he was posthumously awarded the George Medal for bravery. Lifeboat coxwain Hewitt Clark was awarded the RNLI's highest honour, the Gold medal, for his part in the rescue.
A gospel message, presented by Earl Ritchie of West Richmond, Vamcouver, Canada, relating to this happening can be heard on www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQR05K-4R7E, which I thoroughly recommend you to listen to.
In Luke ch.5 the Lord Jesus Christ instructed His disciples, “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.”
When embarking on any venture in life it is always wise to seek guidance from the Lord. The Captain of Costa Concordia was foolish to leave the prescribed route and choose to go another way. The Captain of the Green Lily ignored the advice of the Harbour Master not to leave the Port at Lerwick, Shetland into force nine gales, forecast imminently to rise to force eleven. Disaster and shipwreck can be the experience of any in life who choose their own way and ignore the good counsel of God.
Christ instructed the disciples to launch out, so it was safe to do so, and it was best for them too that they did so. Your life and mine are best protected and provided for when we follow the instructions of the Saviour. Have you ever felt reluctant to launch out with God? Preferring to hold onto one’s own thoughts and practices for your future well-being. You would be better advised to trust in God and His promises.
God bless you all.
Written by Stan Burditt for Stephen Baker