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Posts Tagged ‘Mediterranean’

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New Celebrity Cruises ship Celebrity Edge takes to water

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

Raising the Costa Concordia

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

An ingenious $400 Million Plan is underway to deal with the wrecked Costa Concordia.  In January 2012, the cruise ship struck a rock off the shore of Isola del Giglio, in the Mediterranean. Thirty people on board the largest passenger wreck of all time lost their lives and two are still missing and over a year later, the wreck is still sitting off the Italian coast, mostly submerged. 

Because the Costa Concordia is in a nationally protected marine park and coral reef, it must be removed from the area before it can be dismantled, posing countless difficulties.  Not only is it the riskiest, most complicated, and most expensive salvage plan ever undertaken, but no one is sure if it will work. The ship weighs 60,000 tons and is filled with seawater. It is sitting on two underwater mountain peaks and 65 % of it is below the surface.  The wreck is an official crime scene. 

The operation, which will cost about $400 million, is being paid for by insurance companies and the plan is to rotate the ship upright, and onto an underwater platform. Then it will float up, leaving more of its structure above the surface and hopefully it can be towed away.  Interestingly before getting on the inclined ship, workers must take a 4-day mountain climbing course.

 The underwater platform is being built in northern Italy and the steel must be transported through the Adriatic Sea, around the boot of Italy, and up to the wreck. The steel weighs three times as much as the Eiffel Tower and will be embedded in the seafloor.  A drill bit will be enclosed in a large tube, to keep debris from contaminating the protected area.  

For now, the ship is held in place by steel cables,  but strong storms could dislodge it causing it at some point to possibly sink to the seafloor, which would make the salvage operation near impossible.  Over one hundred salvage divers are currently working on the salvage operation around the clock, in 45-minute shifts. They all live in floating barracks, next to the wreck site.

How exactly will workers rotate Costa Concordia onto the platform?  The plan essentially involves welding a new ship onto the shipwreck.  That new “ship” will consist of huge, hollow steel boxes called sponsons – the biggest being 11 stories tall. Nine of the sponsons will be welded onto the exposed side of the ship, with just 2 inches between them. Then steel cables will connect the sponsons to the steel platform and hydraulic pulleys will pull the Costa Concordia upright.

 More sponsons will be welded onto the other side of the ship and once the ship is upright, the extra buoyancy should make it float. The ship is scheduled to be floated next summer and once the process begins, there is no way to stop it, even if something goes wrong.  The backup plan is to break it up where it lies, at a huge cost to the local environment. If all goes well, the Costa Concordia will be cut up for scrap, far from Giglio.

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