This video shows the navigation path of Costa Concordia, the ship that ran aground in Italy. Lots of things went wrong after it hit the first rock, but her path reveals that they may have been a steering system failure before that.
As we already know, Captain Schettino was attempting a very close pass of the ships’ port side, at less than one mile. Inexplicably, the ship was going too fast when it initiated the turn. What the navigation data seems to show is that the turn came too late and it wasn’t strong enough, which may indicate a steering failure before the first hit. This idea seems reinforced by the fact that he didn’t try to back down hard or twin screw—a maneuver that uses both propellers—one forward, one backward—instead of just the rudder to quickly turn the ship.
However, without the ships’ black boxes, we don’t know the actual state of Concordia’s systems or the actual maneuvers ordered by the captain.
In the video you can see how the ship bounces off the charted rock. This goes against his testimony: he said that the rock wasn’t in the charts but it’s clearly there. At that point, the compartments flooded causing the loss of energy.
According to the navigation data description, he then “drifted with a hard right rudder to slow the ship and
bring the around so he would not sink in deep water.” That may be the reason why he says he saved thousand of lives. It also looks like, around 9:11pm, “the bow and thrusters were started and he trusted around to maneuver ashore.” [YouTube — Thanks Joel Johnson!]