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Costa Crociere S.p.A. (Italian pronunciation: [ˈkɔsta kroˈtʃɛːre]) trading as Costa Cruises (Italian: Costa Crociere), is a British/American owned Italian cruise line, based in Genoa, Italy, and under control of the Carnival Corporation & plc.

Founded in 1854, the company originally operated cargo ships, in order to carry olive oils and textiles from Sardinia to Liguria. In 1924 the company passed to founder's sons (Federico, Eugenio and Enrico) that started commercial activities, buying the ship Ravenna. Commercial activities continued until the introduction of passenger services in 1947, with regular services between Italy and South America. The company later converted its entire fleet to full-time cruising, and as an independent company became one of the largest cruise operators in Europe. Acquired by Carnival Corporation in 2000, Costa Cruises is now one of eleven brands operated by Carnival and accounts for approximately 16% of its revenue.

Today, as Costa Cruises Group, the company is one of the main operating companies in the Carnival group, with executive control of the groups activities in Europe. The company is responsible for operation of Costa Cruises in Italy, and AIDA Cruises in Germany and was formerly responsible for the operation of Ibero Cruises in Spain. AIDA was previously a subsidiary of P&O Princess Cruises, being transferred to Costa following the merger of Carnival Corporation and P&O Princess in 2002. Ibero Cruises is a new brand, created in 2007 as a joint venture between Carnival Corporation and Orizonia Group.

The Costa Cruises brand currently operates fourteen cruise ships, which all sail under the Italian flag and provide cruise holidays in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, the Middle East, South East Asia and South America.

The company gained international attention on January 13, 2012 when one of its cruise ships, the Costa Concordia, ran aground and capsized off the coast of Italy, because Captain Francesco Schettino wanted to 'salute' the Italian island of Giglio off Tuscany with a close sail past at night. The captain was one of the crew to leave the sinking ship early while many passengers were still on board. The ship was left lying on its starboard side in shallow water. Thirty-two persons have been confirmed dead. Six weeks later the company made headlines again when a fire on Costa Allegra left it drifting without power for 13 hours in waters near Somalia frequented by pirates, before the ship was taken under tow.

On July 27, 2014, after tugboats had slowly towed the wreck 200 miles (320 kilometers) north from the island of Giglio over a period of five days, the Costa Concordia arrived in its home port of Genoa, Italy, for eventual scrapping. The total cost of the disaster is estimated to be over $2 billion, including $500 million for the loss of the ship and $1.5 billion for the salvage and recovery operations. On February 11, 2015, Captain Francesco Schettino was found guilty by an Italian court of multiple manslaughter, causing the shipwreck, and abandoning his passengers and was sentenced to 16 years in prison. He will remain free during the lengthy Italian appeal process.


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