A Ship Motion Short-Term Time Domain Simulator and Its Application to Costa Concordia Emergency Manoeuvres Just Before the January 2012 Accident

  • Paolo NeriEmail author
  • Mario Piccinelli
  • Paolo Gubian
  • Bruno Neri
Part of the Simulation Foundations, Methods and Applications book series (SFMA)


In this chapter, we will present a simple but reliable methodology for short-term prediction of a cruise ship behaviour during manoeuvres. The methodology is quite general and could be applied to any kind of ship, because it does not require the prior knowledge of any structural or mechanical parameter of the ship. It is based only on the results of manoeuvrability data contained in the Manoeuvring Booklet, which in turn is filled out after sea trials of the ship performed before his delivery to the owner. We developed this method to support the investigations around the Costa Concordia shipwreck, which happened near the shores of Italy in January 2012. It was then validated against the data recorded in the “black box” of the ship, from which we have been able to extract an entire week of voyage data before the shipwreck. The aim was investigating the possibility of avoiding the impact by performing an evasive manoeuvre (as ordered by the Captain some seconds before the impact, but allegedly misunderstood by the helmsman). The preliminary validation step showed a good matching between simulated and real values (course and heading of the ship) for a time interval of a few minutes. The fact that the method requires only the results registered in the VDR (Voyage Data Recorder) during sea trial tests, makes it very useful for several applications. Among them, we can cite forensic investigation, the development of components for autopilots, the prediction of the effects of a given manoeuvre in shallow water, the “a posteriori” verification of the correctness of a given manoeuvre and the use in training simulators for ship pilots and masters.


Simulation model Ship manoeuvre Costa concordia 



The authors are grateful to CODACONS, an Italian consumers’ rights association that is supporting some Costa Concordia survivors in the trial, for financial support and legal assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paolo Neri
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mario Piccinelli
    • 2
  • Paolo Gubian
    • 2
  • Bruno Neri
    • 3
  1. 1.University of PisaPisaItaly
  2. 2.University of BresciaBresciaItaly
  3. 3.University of PisaPisaItaly

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