News / Europe

Costa Concordia Inches Upward as Salvage Continues

The capsized cruise liner Costa Concordia lies on its side during the "parbuckling" operation next to Giglio Island. Sept. 16, 2013.
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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid