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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid