The Costa Concordia will be the largest ship to be refloated in maritime history. Work on the 114,500 tonnes of cruise liner, which hit rocks off the coast of the island of Giglio Jan. 13 and sunk, is set to begin and plans to do so were unveiled Friday.
The salvage company with the contract, Titan Salvage of Pompano Beach, Florida, has done over 350 salvage jobs around the world; they will work with an Italian company, Micoperi, to refloat the Costa Concordia, and prior to getting underway this coming week these two companies unveiled their plans in a press conference on the island.
Costa Concordia: Salvaging cruise liner
Only half-submerged on a rocky ledge, to achieve a refloating of the cruise ship they'll stabilize her by building a platform underneath and then to pull her up use giant cranes and a giant balloon to be situated on the side of the boat that rests outside of the water. The $300 million operation is expected to take as many as 12 months and while this kind of procedure has been done previously, it has not been done on a ship of such size.
Most of the Costa Concordia''s nine levels are underwater and too damaged for her to return to service. Multiple media outlets have reported that the president of the region Giglio is a part of, Enrico Rossi, has said that in an effort to help repay for the troubles the tragedy has caused the area it may be taken to an area port, Livorno, to be scraped, thus creating jobs in the region.
32 died in Costa Concordia tragedy
There were 4,229 passengers and crew onboard when captain Francesco Schettino steered the liner too close to the shore, reportedly to salute a crewmember's relative on Giglio. The 290 metres long liner hit rocks and listed, partially sinking. Thirty-two people died and 30 bodies have been recovered to date. Schettino is under house arrest at his home near Naples, awaiting trial on multiple charges, including causing a shipwreck and abandoning his ship.
A Dutch company, Smit Salvage, has already safely removed the 2,300 tonnes of heavy fuel and more than 200 tonnes of diesel oil from the 17 tanks on the ship. The ship is a marine sanctuary with dolphins, species of whales, porpoises and other marine life and after the ship is removed there will be further debris clean-up of the area.