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

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More