Oops: American Express sent out mailers to some of its cardholders advertising a cruise on the Costa Concordia after it’s deadly January 13 accident

This one slipped through the cracks.

An American Express mailer was recently sent out advertising a seven-night cruise touring Italy, France, and Spain for the tantalising price of $749.

The only problem was the ship to which American Express referred was the stricken Costa Concordia, which is currently half-submerged off the coast of Italy.

The cruise special was slated to run from February 25 to October 29 of this year.

On January 13, the behemoth ocean liner ran aground near Giglio, Italy with more than 4,200 people on board.

The adverts were sent to certain card holders in Florida, and later surfaced on a Washington Post blog, the New York Daily News reports.

The mailer encouraged cardholders to ‘immerse yourself in a truly European experience.’

American Express spokeswoman Christine Elliot said: ‘The mailing was already underway when the accident occurred.

We apologise for any inconvenience to those who received it,’ she told the News.

Details: The mailer encourages cardholders to ‘immerse yourself in a truly European experience’ and describes a ‘continental’ Captain and crew

According to Ms Elliot, production time for mailers is anywhere from six to eight weeks, meaning they were completed long before the accident.

Divers have just found a body of a woman, which brings the death toll up to 17. At least 15 people are still missing.

A Dutch salvage company said today that it plans to begin pumping the some 2,300 tonnes of fuel out of the ship.

‘We were ready (Saturday) morning to commence oil pumping in the course of the day,’ Smit spokesperson Martijn Schuttevaer said at a news conference.

He said that bad weather prevented the effort, and pumping will be delayed until at least next Tuesday because of the continued forecast.

According to BBC News, the efforts will take nearly a month to complete, and is a delicate undertaking, in part because of the environmental hazard that could result if diesel leaks into the ocean.

The ship’s captain Francesco Schettino remains under house arrest as the investigation into his behaviours continues.

The shamed captain is charged with multiple counts of manslaughter, as well as causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship before all passengers were evacuated.

In the meantime, Costa has offered $14,500 per passenger as settlement. Those who accept the compensation would not be allowed to seek further legal action against the company.

The blunder of advertising a voyage before the ship arrives in port is nothing new.

White Star Line, which owned and operated three of the largest cruise ships at the turn of the century – including the Titanic – would advertise trips before the ship’s arrival in local newspapers and in fliers.

Various adverts were taken out, including those promoting the Titanic’s trip on April 20 out of New York’s Pier 59.

The ship famously sank in the middle of the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912 on its maiden voyage. More than 1,500 passengers and crew perished of the 2,228 aboard.

By Beth Stebner, Daily Mail

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