Thursday, July 12, 2012


By Ricky Butts and David A. Sargent
     On January 13, 2012, the Costa Concordia, a cruise ship, hit rocks off the coast of island Giglio when it was brought too near to the shore by the captain of the ship, Francesco Schettino. The captain claims he was instructed to venture near the shore in the move called a ‘salute’ by a manager of the ship’s owner.  However, Costa Crociere’s chief executive, Pier Luigi Foschi, put back the blame on the captain claiming that Schettino did not have the approval to change the course and was going too fast at 16 knots to be so close to shore.
     “A ‘salute’ — or ‘sail-by’ as it's also known — loosely refers to taking a cruise ship closer to shore to give passengers and/or land-based onlookers a thrilling view,” explains Chris Gray Faust.  This “salute” turned out to be no thrill at all – the death toll is currently at 15, with 24 people still missing, including seven that have not yet been identified – not to mention the loss of the ship itself.
     Schettino told magistrates that his Costa superiors had insisted on the move, which took Concordia within 150 meters of Giglio, to please passengers and attract publicity, reported Reuters.  Foschi has asserted that Schettino's diversion, which led to the sinking of the ship, was "unauthorized, unapproved and unknown to Costa."
     According to another cruise line, Princess Cruises, “salutes” or “sail-bys” are against policy.  Media relations manager, Karen Candy, stated: “There is a voyage plan that is briefed to Deck and Technical Officers several days before the transit… It is not deviated from to get closer to land or to greet residents." *
     When the Costa Concordia deviated from its course, it brought tragic – even fatal – results.
     The Bible warns: “There is a way that SEEMS right to a man, But its end is the way of DEATH” (Proverbs 14:12).
     But you and I are guilty all-too-often of deviating from the course in order to “salute” and engage in some selfish, sinful desire.  James 1:13-14 describes the process of venturing dangerously close and then into sin and the penalty: DEATH!  We sin and consequently “shipwreck” our lives!
     But God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to come to our rescue!  Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for our sins so that we might be saved from sin and have eternal life (John 3:16; Ephesians 1:7).
     In order to accept God’s offer of salvation and life through Jesus, we must place our faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from our sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).
     Having made wrong choices in the past and thus placed yourself on a “sinking ship,” won’t YOU “take hold” of the Savior’s offer through your trusting obedience?

- Ricky Butts and David A. Sargent; David A. Sargent, minister for the church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled
Living Water."  To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website:

* Information gleaned from: “How common are cruise ship 'salutes?'” By Chris Gray Faust, Cruise Critic contributor. 

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