Work on salvaging the crippled Costa Concordia cruise ship is now underway some five months after it capsized off the coast of Italy, killing 32, a spokesperson for the ship’s operators confirmed Thursday.
The refloating project is expected to take about a year and will be divided into four stages once the ship is stabilized, according to Titan-Micoperi officials.
The Concordia, which is operated by Carnival Corp.subsidiary Costa Cruises, overturned near the Tuscan island of Giglio on Jan. 13 with more than 4,000 passengers and crew aboard after its captain Francesco Schettino allegedly deviated from its course.
The key to the winning Titan-Micoperi bid was the removal of the Concordia wreck in one piece to minimize environmental damage off Giglio’s coast.
The process will involve the construction of a platform below sea level and attaching watertight chambers called caissons to the ship’s side that’s above water.
Two cranes attached to the platform will then pull the ship upright, aided by the water-filled chambers. Once the ship is up on the platform, more caissons will be attached to the other side of its hull.
Then the caissons on each side of the ship will be drained (after the water is treated and purified) and filled with air.
The sea bottom will be cleaned and marine flora replanted after the Concordia is removed.
See photos of the salvage plan.
In an email Thursday Costa’s Head of Corporate Communications Cristiano De Musso provided this timeline of the project:
Now through July 31: On-going site inspections of the ship and its position
Aug.1-31: Securing of the Costa Concordia wreck to ensure on-going safety and stability
Sept. 1-Nov. 15: Installation of caissons on left side of vessel and construction of submarine platforms
Dec. 1: Sensitive stage of salvage begins with rotation of wreck with the installation of boxes on its right side
Jan. 15: Ship to be up-righted above waterline
Jan. 31: Ship delivered to an Italian port for processing according to regulations.
April 30: Cleaning and replanting of marine flora expected to be completed
Here’s a round-up of other recent Costa Concordia reports:
@ThomasTraveller: World exclusive photo: the new rig which will help lift the Costa Concordia brought into place on Giglio last night
CruiseRadio.net: Dutch journalists to document the Concordia salvage project