News / Europe

Costa Concordia Inches Upward as Salvage Continues

The capsized cruise liner Costa Concordia lies on its side during the
The capsized cruise liner Costa Concordia lies on its side during the "parbuckling" operation next to Giglio Island. Sept. 16, 2013.
Reuters
Salvage crews shifted the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship slowly off a rock shelf on Monday in a painstaking process that looked set to continue into the early hours of the morning.
 
The most complex and costly salvage operation of its kind ever attempted began at 9 a.m. (0700 GMT) on the Italian island of Giglio after a three-hour delay due to an overnight storm, and progress was slower than originally estimated.
 
Still on its side, the flank of the ship was entirely off the rock shelf and raised far enough out of the sea to reveal a dirty brown water mark staining the white hull.
 
“The ship is reacting very well because it's rotating in a uniform fashion, which is what we expected but it's a pleasure to see it confirmed,” said Franco Porcellacchia, leader of Costa Cruise's technical team.

  • The damaged side of the capsized cruise liner Costa Concordia is visible after the ship was righted outside Giglio harbor, Italy, Sept. 17, 2013.
  • The damaged side of the capsized cruise liner Costa Concordia is visible after the ship was righted outside Giglio harbor, Italy, Sept. 17, 2013.
  • The damaged side of the capsized cruise liner Costa Concordia is visible after the ship was righted outside Giglio harbor, Italy, Sept. 17, 2013.
  • The damaged side of the capsized cruise liner Costa Concordia is visible after the ship was righted outside Giglio harbor, Italy, Sept. 17, 2013.
  • The capsized Costa Concordia cruise liner is pictured after the start of the operation to tilt the ship upright outside Giglio harbor, Italy, Sept. 16, 2013.
  • People look on as the capsized cruise liner Costa Concordia lies on its side next to Giglio Island, Italy, Sept. 16, 2013.
  • The Costa Concordia ship lies on its side near the Tuscan Island of Giglio, Italy, Sept. 16, 2013.
  • A ferry boat sails in front of the Costa Concordia ship lying on its side near the Tuscan Island of Giglio, Italy, Sept. 16, 2013.

The Concordia was carrying more than 4,000 people went it hit rocks off Giglio on Jan. 13, 2012 and capsized with the loss of 32 lives. Two bodies have yet to be recovered and underwater cameras failed to find any sign of them as darkness fell and searchlights lit up the port.
 
“They must still be under the keel of the Concordia and I hope after this finally they will have a grave [their families] can cry over,” said Luciano Castro, a 49-year-old journalist who was on the ship when it sank.
 
In contrast to the accident, a catalog of mishap and misjudgement over which the Concordia's captain Francesco Schettino faces multiple charges, the salvage operation has so far been a tightly coordinated engineering feat.
 
At a cost estimated at more than 600 million euros ($795 million), it is expected to be the most expensive maritime wreck recovery, accounting for more than half of an overall insurance loss of more than $1.1 billion.
 
The so-called “parbuckling” operation will see the 114,500-ton vessel slowly rotated upright using a series of huge jacks and cables prior to be towed away and broken up for scrap, probably next spring.
 
Italy's Civil Protection Authority said work would probably continue until dawn. Engineers said they were satisfied with progress and not concerned about the time.
 
Mountain on the Seabed
 
A multinational team of 500 salvage engineers has been on Giglio for most of the past year, stabilizing the wreck and preparing for the lifting operation, which has never been attempted on such a large vessel in such conditions.
 
“We have done parbuckling before but never on a location like this,” Nick Sloane, the South African engineer coordinating the recovery for contractor Titan Salvage, told Reuters.
 
“She is on the side of a mountain on the seabed, balanced on two reefs and she is a really large ship - she's three football fields long, a hundred thousand tons plus ... So it's never been done on this scale,” he said.
 
A series of 11 towers with hydraulic mechanisms controlling 205-kg (450 lb) cables under the ship and attached to its side slowly rotated the vessel, aiming to place it on six specially built platforms drilled into the granite rock bed.
 
As the sunken side of the vessel inched out of the water, engineers eased the pressure from the cables, preparing for a second phase, when huge tanks fixed to the ship's exposed side begin filling with water, using the effect of gravity to pull the ship vertical.
 
Oil booms surround the vessel to intercept waste water and oil trapped in the ship, but no significant environmental damage was observed in the first hours of the operation.
 
Once the Concordia is upright, salvage teams will spend a months stabilizing it and preparing for it to be re-floated with the aid of additional giant buoyancy tanks before it is towed away for scrap.
 
Marine insurers who have to calculate the cost of covering a new breed of large cargo and cruise vessels have been watching progress closely, as any problems could have a significant impact on future insurance contracts.
 
On Giglio, locals were hoping the ship which has given their Tuscan holiday island global fame would soon be gone.
 
Giancarlo Farni, who said he was one of the first rescuers on the scene, said: “I saw it sink and now I want to see it brought upright and taken away.”

You May Like

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs