Miller: Cruise ship disaster avoidable

Italian rescue divers approach the Costa Concordia cruise liner two days after it ran aground off the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, Jan. 16, 2012. Another body was found Monday, raising the disaster's death toll to six. 14 people remain unaccounted for.
AP Photo

The grounding of a luxury cruise liner off the well-traveled Tuscan coast Friday night was a deadly disaster that a $565 million ship built in 2006 with the most sophisticated navigation equipment in the world was more than capable of steering clear of, according to John Miller.

"This is a catastrophic failure that could have been avoided," Miller said.

The rescue mission for survivors aboard the Costa Concordia was suspended Monday as the massive liner shifted in rough waters, putting divers at greater risk. Six bodies have been recovered so far, and more people remain unaccounted for.

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While authorities investigate the events leading up to the accident and the response by the captain and crew, Miller said the Concordia will have a ripple effect on the cruise line industry. In the United States, Miller said it was likely that the U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security would more closely inspect cruise ships' emergency operations plans.

In the long term, Miller said, the International Maritime Organization could focus on the timing of the Concordia accident, which was before the ship performed a required emergency drill with all of the passengers. The maritime organization could tighten its regulations toward cruise ships, requiring them to perform the drill before leaving port instead of within 24 hours of embarking on a cruise.

Above, watch Miller's complete analysis of what went wrong at sea.