Veterans of the cruise-line industry can't remember an accident more dramatic than the one that captivated the world's attention this past weekend.
An Italian ocean liner capsized onto its side, half the ship submerged in the shallows of the Mediterranean Sea. The Costa Concordia had rolled so far over that a steam stack looked nearly eye-level in photos taken from the shores of a rugged Tuscan island where passengers fled after the grounding. Six passengers were confirmed dead, with 29 missing. Passengers jumped from the ship as it listed toward 80 degrees.
The images from the Concordia present a major challenge to South Florida's cruise-line industry, which attracts millions of tourists to the region and employs thousands of workers. Carnival, Miami-Dade's eighth largest private employer, owns Costa, making the financial fallout a direct concern for the world's largest cruise company and its 3,500 local employees.