Lapang Islanders in Indonesia

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

(Live Kryon Channelings was given 7 times within the United Nations building.)

Question: Dear Kryon: I live in Spain. I am sorry if I will ask you a question you might have already answered, but the translations of your books are very slow and I might not have gathered all information you have already given. I am quite concerned about abandoned animals. It seems that many people buy animals for their children and as soon as they grow, they set them out somewhere. Recently I had the occasion to see a small kitten in the middle of the street. I did not immediately react, since I could have stopped and taken it, without getting out of the car. So, I went on and at the first occasion I could turn, I went back to see if I could take the kitten, but it was to late, somebody had already killed it. This happened some month ago, but I still feel very sorry for that kitten. I just would like to know, what kind of entity are these animals and how does this fit in our world. Are these entities which choose this kind of life, like we do choose our kind of Human life? I see so many abandoned animals and every time I see one, my heart aches... I would like to know more about them.

Answer: Dear one, indeed the answer has been given, but let us give it again so you all understand. Animals are here on earth for three (3) reasons.

(1) The balance of biological life. . . the circle of energy that is needed for you to exist in what you call "nature."

(2) To be harvested. Yes, it's true. Many exist for your sustenance, and this is appropriate. It is a harmony between Human and animal, and always has. Remember the buffalo that willingly came into the indigenous tribes to be sacrificed when called? These are stories that you should examine again. The inappropriateness of today's culture is how these precious creatures are treated. Did you know that if there was an honoring ceremony at their death, they would nourish you better? Did you know that there is ceremony that could benefit all of humanity in this way. Perhaps it's time you saw it.

(3) To be loved and to love. For many cultures, animals serve as surrogate children, loved and taken care of. It gives Humans a chance to show compassion when they need it, and to have unconditional love when they need it. This is extremely important to many, and provides balance and centering for many.

Do animals know all this? At a basic level, they do. Not in the way you "know," but in a cellular awareness they understand that they are here in service to planet earth. If you honor them in all three instances, then balance will be the result. Your feelings about their treatment is important. Temper your reactions with the spiritual logic of their appropriateness and their service to humanity. Honor them in all three cases.

Japan's Antarctic whaling hunt ruled 'not scientific'

Japan's Antarctic whaling hunt ruled 'not scientific'
Representatives of Japan and Australia shake hands at the court in The Hague. (NOS/ANP) - 31 March 2014
"Fast-Tracking" - Feb 8, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Fukushima / H-bomb nuclear pollution and a warning about nuclear > 20 Min)

China calls for peaceful settlement of maritime disputes

China calls for peaceful settlement of maritime disputes
Wang Min, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, speaks during a meeting to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the enforcement of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, at the UN headquarters in New York, on June 9, 2014. The Chinese envoy on Monday called for a harmonious maritime order, saying that maritime disputes should be settled through negotiation between the parties directly involved. (Xinhua/Niu Xiaolei)

UNCLOS 200 nautical miles vs China claimed territorial waters

UNCLOS 200 nautical miles vs China claimed territorial waters

Monday, January 30, 2012

Scrap Steel Smuggling Attempt Foiled

Jakarta Globe, Ismira Lutfia, January 28, 2012

The customs office foiled the attempted smuggling of 28,200 kilograms
of scrap steel allegedly contaminated by hazardous waste at the Tanjung
Priok Port on Saturday in Jakarta. (Antara Photo/Ujang Zaelani)

Related articles

The customs office foiled the attempted smuggling of many containers of scrap steel, each weighing 28,200 kilograms, allegedly contaminated by hazardous waste classified as B3 at the Tanjung Priok Port on Saturday, an official said.

The scrap metal was shipped from England and the Netherlands on false documents, said Environment Minister Balthasar Kambuaya who was inspecting the containers at Tanjung Priok together with Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo.

“The examination found that the contents didn’t match with the import documents,” Balthasar said.

The smuggled steel came in five shipments between late December and January with 89 containers coming from England and 24 coming from the Netherlands.

Some of the containers released unpleasant smells when customs officials unlocked the doors.

Agus said the importer was identified by the initials of PT HHS, a multinational company in the scrap metal business.

“We honor the presumption of innocence principle, but if proven guilty, [the company owner] could face between five and 15 years in jail,” Agus said.

The import documents specified that the containers contained non-hazardous scrap metal.

“It turned out the steels were dug off from the final resting place and directly loaded into containers. They should have been cleaned first,” said director general of customs and excise Agung Kuswandono. “We already consulted with the Ministry of Environment to ensure that the contents are classified as B3.”

In addition to the customs offense, the importer could also be charged under the environment law, the ministers said.

Related Article:

Friday, January 27, 2012

Dutch FM under fire as activist stands trial in Japan

RNW, 26 January 2012

Related Article:

Foreign Minister
Uri Rosenthal
Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal has dismissed criticism that he is not doing enough for Dutch environment activist Erwin Vermeulen, who is on trial in Japan. The minister told Dutch news agency ANP that he is doing everything possible within international regulations, and more.

Mr Vermeulen was arrested in mid-December for allegedly pushing a Japanese hotel employee while taking photos of the transport of captured dolphins in the Japanese town of Tajii. Mr Vermeulen, who works for environmental organisation Sea Shepherd, has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Critics, including the Dutch Animal Rights Party, say the trial is politically motivated. Minister Rosenthal has dismissed this and the suggestion that Mr Vermeulen will not have a fair trial, saying: “The Netherlands considers Japan to be an orderly, democratic state where the rule of law applies”.

Minister Rosenthal also rejects suggestions that the Dutch government's position on this case is influenced by trade and political relations with Japan.

The trial of Mr Vermeulen is taking place amid the continuing debate on whaling. The Netherlands' position in this debate is that Japan should adhere to the international rules which allow only limited whaling. Sea Shepherd is involved in the international anti-whaling campaign, as well as the campaign to end the annual slaughter of dolphins in Japan.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Dozens of pilot whales beach in New Zealand

BBC News, 23 January 2012

Related Stories 

File photo of pilot whales beached
on New Zealand's South Island
A group of 90 pilot whales have beached on a spit at the northern tip of New Zealand's South Island - the second incident in the area this month.

The whales in Farewell Spit, Golden Bay, are being kept cool by conservation staff.

Officials are hoping that the whales will be able to refloat themselves when the tide rises in the evening.

Seven whales died in the same area earlier this month when 25 of them were stranded.

"We generally get one stranding a summer and we occasionally get two, but since I've been here in the past 10 years, we've never had three," regional conservation area manager John Mason was quoted by the New Zealand Herald as saying.

The whales were spotted by an aircraft pilot while flying over Farewell Spit, he added.

In November, 47 whales also died in the same area when a pod of 65 got stranded.

Pilot whales - which are mammals and belong to the dolphin family - can grow up to 20 feet and weigh up to three tons.

Scientists do not know what causes mass beaching of whales.

They are most common in New Zealand in the summer, when whales pass by on their migration to and from Antarctic waters.

Related Article:

( .. The whales beached themselves because the magnetics of the earth shifted so greatly that their navigational system [the magnetite in their biology, which is their migration compass] steered them right into the land. The land didn't move; the magnetics did. Therefore, you might say their internal inherited migration map was flawed. The reason it's not happening now is because the calves, the generation beyond the one that beached themselves, figured it out and rewrote the maps. Nature [Gaia] does this. So the next generation didn't repeat it. Instead, it realigned itself to the migratory lay lines and now whales don't beach themselves nearly as often.

The magnetics of the planet continue to shift and the birds are unaware. Like the whales, many of the birds have migrated themselves right into a high place in the atmosphere, which pummeled them to death by freezing rain and hail. Then they fall from the sky. It's the weather cycle. Will they continue to do this? Some will, for awhile, and then they will figure it out and recalibrate. That's what nature does. ..)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Teenager Dekker completes around-the-world sail

BBC News, 21 January 2012

Related Stories 

Laura Dekker was born on a yacht and
began sailing solo when she was 10
A Dutch teenager who set out to become the youngest solo around-the-world sailor has completed her voyage.

Laura Dekker, 16, was greeted by a cheering crowd as she sailed into the St Maarten harbour in the Caribbean after a year at sea.

She left on 20 January 2011 aboard her 11.5m (38ft) boat Guppy.

Before her trip, Ms Dekker won a court case against Dutch social services, who had argued that the voyage could harm her emotional and social development.

Her mother had expressed concerns about the solo voyage, but later lifted her objections.

Ms Dekker was born on a yacht off the coast of New Zealand during a seven-year world trip.

The Guinness Book of Records decided to stop recognising records for "youngest" sailors after the controversy surrounding her bid.

Related Articles:
There and back again: A map on Laura Dekker's website shows the
dizzying journey she completed by herself

Cargo ship Aztec Maiden runs aground off Netherlands

BBC News, 20 January 2012

The ship is on sand near Wijk aan Zee

Related Stories 

A cargo ship has run aground on the Dutch coast 20km (12 miles) west of Amsterdam after its anchor slipped in an overnight storm.

The empty vessel appeared to be stable after drifting towards the coast and rescue services said there was no sign of any fuel leak.

It was named as the 155-metre (500-foot) Aztec Maiden, a Philippine-registered freighter with a crew of 21.

Tug boats are being readied to pull the ship free.

There were no reports of injuries after the ship broke free and drifted, coming to rest on sand near the North Sea coastal town of Wijk aan Zee.

"As far as we can judge, the ship is stable," Peter Verburg of the Dutch coast guard told state broadcaster NOS.

While there were no reports of oil leaks, the coast guard was "monitoring it very closely", he added.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Costa Concordia crew members tell RNW about their ordeal

RNW, 19 January 2012, by Prita Riadhini

(Photo: ANP)
"I was traumatized. This has been my last voyage," said Teguh Haryono, one of the 170 Indonesians working among the ship’s crew aboard the Costa Concordia that ran aground off the Italian coast last Friday.

Mr Haryono was determined and told Radio Netherlands Worldwide* about his decision, even though he had been working on the same cruise ship for nine years. This voyage should have lasted eight months, but two months after it set sail, the Costa Concordia capsized.

When the accident happened Teguh, who worked as a waiter, was busy preparing food in the kitchen. The ship suddenly tilted and everyone panicked. Kitchen utensils fell on the floor. "When I returned to the restaurant, guests were yelling. I even told them not to panic."


Mr Haryono, together with other Indonesians in the crew, survived the ordeal. They received assistance from the Indonesian Embassy in Rome as well as from the Indonesian community in Italy.

"I was lucky, but this has been very traumatic for me."

Costa Concordia carried three thousand passengers and was said to have good security. Smoking bans were closely observed in rooms.

Mr Haryono said he was treated decently by the company although his salary had been reduced in the past two years.

"In February 2010, the management of Costa announced that from now on we will be paid in US dollars instead of euros due to the economic crisis. The exchange rate the management used was one dollar for one euro though euros were worth more than dollars. So I received my salary in dollars, including tips from guests, even though they gave it in euros."

The company promised that when the economic situation in Europe has improved, they will receive their salary in euros again. But nobody knows when it will happen.

Mr Haryono has been paid for two months, and the rest of his six month salary will be transferred to his account.

Captain’s errors

Sunarso Aryanto has a different story. He has been working for the Costa company for thirteen years. The tragedy that befell his ship will not shake his faith in sailing again.

When the accident took place, Mr Aryanto was serving the guests in one of the restaurants. He was supervising the buffet. Just before the incident, he took pictures with the captain and other officers.

"Frankly it was the captain’s error that the ship made a diversion from its programmed route."

Sunarso, together with his wife Jenny Rahayu who worked as a waitress, managed to survive by using a lifeboat. He said one of the Indonesian crew jumped into the water when the life raft he was in rolled over. He was then brought to the hospital.

"The company was very pleased to employ Indonesian people. According to the management, crew from some other countries are difficult to manage and arrogant," Sunarso told RNW.

The 170 Indonesian crew members were flown back to Indonesia in groups. The embassy in Rome received assistance from other Indonesian embassies such as those in Belgium and in the Netherlands. Other assistance came from the Indonesian community living in Italy, who supplied the crew with daily necessities while they were accommodated in hotels across Rome. Despite reports of a delay in providing assistance, Sunarso was very satisfied with the help provided by the Indonesian embassy.

* Teguh Haryono and Sunarso Aryanto were speaking to RNW's Indonesian service.

Related Article:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Activists and Japanese whalers clash at sea

BBC News, 18 January 2012

Related Stories 

Screen shot of the incident from
 video released by Japan's Institute
of Cetacean Research
Three activists says they have cuts and bruises after clashing with a Japanese whaling ship in the Southern Ocean.

The incident happened about 300 miles north of Mawson Peninsula off the coast of Antarctica.

Anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd said whaling crew used grappling hooks and a bamboo pole to strike the activists.

Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research said the activists had tried to cut ropes and tangle the Japanese ship's propellers with ropes.

Sea Shepherd follows the Japanese fleet south every year in a bid to disrupt its hunt.


A statement on the Sea Shepherd website said the Japanese crew of the Yushin Maru No 2 threw grappling hooks at the activists, who were in two small boats.

They were attempting to slow the Japanese harpoon vessel, which was on the tail of the group's ship, the Steve Irwin. 

A statement on the website of the Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR), which sponsors Japan's whaling activities, said the activists were trying to ''sabotage'' the Yushin Maru, throwing ropes with hooks attached and also hurling glass bottles of paint.

"When the activists started using a knife to cut the YS2 float fender rope and net, the Japanese vessel crew used bamboo poles as a measure to push the boat back," said the statement.

The Japanese have also released a video of the incident showing a water canon on the Yushin Maru being sprayed at a rubber dingy while objects were being thrown at the ship by the activists.

Japan's fleet sails south to the Antarctic in the autumn each year, returning the following spring.

There has been a ban on commercial whaling for 25 years, but Japan catches about 1,000 whales each year in what it says is a scientific research programme.

Critics say it is commercial whaling in another guise.

In the past there have been clashes between activists and whalers, and collisions between Sea Shepherd's vessels and the whaling fleet.

Last week, Japan handed three anti-whaling activists who had boarded a whaling support ship back to Australian authorities.

The Legalities of Whaling 
  • Objection - A country formally objects to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) moratorium, declaring itself exempt. Example: Norway
  • Scientific - A nation issues unilateral "scientific permits"; any IWC member can do this. Example: Japan
  • Indigenous (aka Aboriginal subsistence) - IWC grants permits to indigenous groups for subsistence food. Example: Alaskan Inupiat

Science Bulletins: Whales Give Dolphins a Lift

Many species interact in the wild, most often as predator and prey. But recent encounters between humpback whales and bottlenose dolphins reveal a playful side to interspecies interaction. In two different locations in Hawaii, scientists watched as dolphins "rode" the heads of whales: the whales lifted the dolphins up and out of the water, and then the dolphins slid back down. The two species seemed to cooperate in the activity, and neither displayed signs of aggression or distress. Whales and dolphins in Hawaiian waters often interact, but playful social activity such as this is extremely rare between species. The latest Bio Bulletin from the Museum's Science Bulletins program presents the first recorded examples of this type of behavior. Visitors to AMNH may view the video in the Hall of Biodiversity until February 9, 2012.

Science Bulletins is a production of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLET), part of the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History. Find out more about Science Bulletins at

Related Article:

Kayaker Alan Brady is surprised by two humpback whales Oct. 25. 
Biologists believe whales have followed food closer to shore, leading 
them to feed just a mile from land this year. (Paul Schraub / AP)

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.) 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

First big cruise ship berths at Benoa, Bali

Antara News, Tue, January 17 2012

Related News

Denpasar, Bali (ANTARA News) - Deputy Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Sapta Nirwandar said a cruise ship named MV Legend of the Seas was the biggest yacht to berth in Benoa Harbor, Bali.

Cruise Ship Photo: MV Legend
of the Seas
"Previously, cruise ships of the same size as the Legend could not berth at any Indonesia port. They could only throw anchor some distance from the coast and transport passengers to the shore by small boats," he said here Monday.

Sapta Nirwandar also said the 264.3-meter-long Legend of the Seas was the biggest cruise ship to berth at an Indonesian port, in this case Benoa, Bali.

Meanwhile, the harbor and dredging director of Bali`s Transportation Office, Kemal Heryandri, said Benoa harbor was ready to receive big ships from overseas.

Kemal Heryandri said coral reefs in the harbor waters had been removed in 2011 to ensure the navigation safety of big ships, even of ships bigger than the MV Legend. Besides, Kemal added, the local government had also dredged the coastal waters up to a depth of 11 meters.

"In 2012, the dredging will reach 12 meters to enable big cruise ships to berth easily and safely," Kemal said.

President Director of PT Indonesia Harbor (Pelindo) III, Djarwo Surjanto, had previously said Benoa would be the first port in Indonesia able to receive the Legend of the Seas.

The cruise ship had 2,300 passengers and a 1,000-strong crew on board when it arrived in Benoa.

"The Legend`s visit will attract world attention because it is the first time for a big cruise ship to berth at an Indonesian port," Djarwo said.

Editor: B Kunto Wibisono

Dutch lab en route to Antarctica

RNW, 16 January 2012

A planned Dutch research facility in Antarctica is one step closer to completion.

Three mobile labs have been loaded on lorries and are en route to the UK port of Southampton. From there they will travel to Antarctica by ship. A fourth lab is to be sent at a later date.

The three labs will form part of a Dutch research station, the first such facility in Antarctica ever.

Deputy Science Minister Halbe Zijlstra sealed the labs before they were loaded onto lorries. He also announced the names of the four labs: Geloof (Faith), Hoop (Hope), Liefde (Love) and Blijde Boodschap (Glad Tidings), after the four ships which left Rotterdam in 1598 to search for a trade route with Asia via the southern tip of South America.

During the journey, the Blijde Boodschap was blown far off course in a storm and its captain, Dirck Gerritsz, spotted a “very mountainous land, covered in snow, like the land of Norway”. He was probably the first person ever to lay eyes on Antarctica.

During the send-off for the mobile labs, Mr Zijlstra also announced that a lab at Rothera Point on Aidelaide Island will be named Gerritsz, after the Dutch captain.

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research says the three labs are expected to arrive in late March. The first researchers will leave for Antarctica in autumn. The labs will be manned by five scientists who will conduct research into the effects of the melting of the ice caps.

A photograph taken by Captain Scott in the Antarctic of 
Dr Edward Wilson sketching at Beardmore glacier on 
13 December 1911. Photograph: Captain Robert Scott/Scott
Polar Research Institute

Monday, January 16, 2012

Anti-Whaling Activists Back in Australia

Jakarta Globe, January 16, 2012

The Yushin Maru catcher ship of the Japanese whaling fleet
injuring a whale with its first harpoon. (AFP Photo)
Related articles

Three activists who sparked a diplomatic incident by boarding a Japanese whaling ship arrived back in Australia Monday as Prime Minister Julia Gillard blasted their "irresponsible" behavior.

The men from the Forest Rescue Australia environmental group clambered on board the Shonan Maru No.2, escorting Japanese whalers on an Antarctic hunt, off Australia's west coast on January 7.

There were fears they would be taken to Japan and tried for trespassing but Tokyo agreed to release them and they were transferred to an Australian customs ship on Friday, arriving at the west coast port of Albany on Monday.

They were escorted from the vessel by Australian Federal Police officers to cries of support from a small band of supporters. One of the men was taken into custody over an unpaid fine.

Gillard said they should not be treated as heroes despite Canberra's firm opposition to Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean, with the operation to retrieve them costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"The truth is, it has been a costly venture to go and retrieve these three men," Gillard told reporters in Hobart, adding that it was unlikely the activists would contribute to the cost.

"I do not understand them to be people who probably have that kind of money at their disposal, so unfortunately it is the government, the Australian taxpayer, who to date, has had to bear these costs, which is why, among other reasons, I think their conduct was irresponsible."

Gillard said she was as anti-whaling "as anybody else in this country" but believed the most effective course was to take the matter to the International Court of Justice, which Australia was doing.

Forest Rescue Australia spokesman Rowan Davidson said it was unlikely the men would be speaking of their ordeal anytime soon.

"I don't think they are too keen to talk to the media," he said, adding to ABC radio that they were treated well.

"They were being well fed, they were a little bit sick-and-tired of fish soup though," he said.

"They were being allowed a couple hours a day exercise to wander the decks and they were spending the rest of the time teaching the crew English and the crew were teaching them Japanese."

Attorney--General Nicola Roxon, meanwhile, reminded Japan that its whaling vessels were not welcome in Australian waters, amid reports last week that one strayed into Australian territory around sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island.

"The Australian government continues to condemn Japan's decision to continue its so--called 'scientific' whaling in the Southern Ocean this summer," she said.

"And it reiterates its request for whaling vessels to stay out of Australia's territorial sea and exclusive economic zone."

Dead fin whale washes up in Vlissingen, The Netherlands

RNW, 15 January 2012

A dead fin whale was found on Sunday morning in the harbour of Vlissingen in the south-western province of Zeeland.

The young mammal is nearly nine metres long and weighs some 5,000 kilos. It is extremely rare for a fin whale to wash up on Dutch shores. Just 30 cases have been recorded since the fourteenth century.

The last time was eleven years ago, when a fin whale washed up about 100 metres from the present site. Biologists from the Naturalis natural history museum in Leiden will dissect the animal on the quay tomorrow.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Three die in South Korean ship explosion

BBC News, 15 January 2012

Related Stories 

The cause of the blast is being investigated
A South Korean cargo ship has sunk after an explosion on board, killing at least three crew members, the coast guard says.

Eight people are still missing and five others have been rescued in the incident north of Jawol island, near the port of Incheon.

The blast happened in the morning after the ship had unloaded oil products.

The cause is being investigated, but officials say it is unlikely to be the result of an attack by North Korea.

"The explosion took place far below the sea border with North Korea. We see very little possibility (of attacks by the North)," a coastguard spokesman told the AFP news agency.

The ship's owners said that the explosion could have been caused by gases leaking from the ship's oil tanks.

"We believe that something went wrong during the process to take out remaining gas in the oil tank," an official of Doora Shipping told Japan's Yonhap news agency.

"The vessel usually transports diesel, but this time it carried gasoline. We are now examining whether it had any relation to the explosion," the official said.

The dead crew members included two Burmese nationals and one South Korean.

The search for the missing is continuing.

The 4,191-tonne freight ship had 16 crew members on board - 11 South Koreans and five Burmese.

Related Article:

Captain arrested amid growing anger after Italian cruise ship runs aground

Francesco Schettino investigated for manslaughter and abandoning ship after three die and 69 go missing, John Hooper in Porto Santo Stefano and Tom Kington in Rome, Saturday 14 January 2012

Cruise ships runs aground off coast of Tuscany. Link to this video

The Italian captain of a ship that sank off the coast of Tuscany was placed under arrest after one of the most dramatic holiday cruise disasters ever seen in the Mediterranean. Three passengers died and 69 were still unaccounted for after the 114,000-tonne Costa Concordia smashed into rocks amid scenes of panic and chaos.

Local prosecutors said Francesco Schettino was being investigated for manslaughter and abandoning ship following reports his stricken vessel failed to raise a mayday alert as the disaster unfolded.

There was speculation that a power failure on board the ship could have led to it losing navigational control and crashing into the rocks. Experts said that passenger reports of a power blackout and large blast indicated the vessel could have suffered an explosion in the engine room.

As the ship came to rest half submerged on its side, yards from the coast of the island of Giglio late on Friday, anger rose among the thousands of passengers who had swum or been ferried and flown to safety over what they described as a botched evacuation by crew members who panicked.

Italian police confirmed that two French tourists and a Peruvian crew member drowned in the accident. About 30 people were reported injured, with three critically hurt.

A British embassy official said not all the Britons on board the vessel had yet been accounted for. He said consular officials had so far confirmed that "around 20" survived.

Survivors described extraordinary scenes of panic, confusion and fear as the ship tilted on its side following what sounded like a loud explosion. Kirsty Cook, one of eight British dancers working on the cruise, said she was "lucky to be alive" after using a rope ladder to climb down to a waiting rescue boat. Another dancer, Rosie Metcalf, 22, from Dorset, had to cling to a fire hose before being winched to safety by a helicopter crew.

The Costa Concordia, which was built in Italy and launched in 2006, set off from Civitavecchia on Friday for a Mediterranean cruise, carrying 3,206 passengers and 1,023 crew. As the ship slid between Giglio and the coast, passengers sitting down for their first dinner on board felt a shudder before the lights went out.

Despite an announcement that the ship had suffered no more than an electrical failure, diners became suspicious as their drinks began to tilt on the tables in front of them. Schettino said he had struck rocks "which were not indicated on maps" and denied allegations that he was sailing too close to the coast.

"We were 300m from the rocks and that outcrop should not have been there," he said. As dawn broke yesterday, a huge chunk of torn-off rock could be seen protruding from a 50-metre gash in the ship's hull below the waterline.

Schettino tried to steer the ship towards the coast to make evacuation easier, but as water poured into the lower decks the ship began to list dangerously and it was soon too late to lower the lifeboats.

Passengers complained that they had urged crew members to let them on to the lifeboats as the ship manoeuvred but were told the captain had not yet given permission. A group of Croatian tourists said that, due to the tilting of the ship, one lifeboat that had been eventually loaded with passengers crashed back into the ship.

"There was panic immediately," said Francesca Sinatra, a passenger from Rome. "People were shouting and climbing on each other." The lifeboat she was in collided a number of times with the listing hull as it was lowered into the water due to the angle, she added.

Italian journalist Mara Parmegiani Alfonsi, who was on board, said the crew did not appear to have been trained for the emergency.

Rescue ships arrived to help take passengers off as the vessel tipped closer to the water. Helicopters were dispatched by the coastguard, navy and air force to hoist passengers to safety and light up the sea with searchlights as passengers – "a few hundred", according to one rescuer – plunged into the water to swim to the shore.

Cruise operator Costa Crociere said in a statement: "Emergency procedures have been promptly activated, our crew members on board are professionally trained and they took all the necessary actions to assist our guests and help them to evacuate the ship."

But the sailors' union Nautilus International said that, 100 years on from the sinking of the Titanic, "many ships are now effectively small towns at sea, and the sheer number of people on board raises serious questions about evacuation".

The cruise operators thanked the citizens of Giglio for rescuing those on board