Costa Concordia Salvage Operations

An American-owned specialist marine salvage and wreck removal company Titan Salvage alongside with Italian firm Micoperi have been awarded a Costa Concordia wreck removal contract in April. Together they presented a plan to refloat and tow away the cruise ship to one of the Italian ports where she will likely be scrapped. According to Carnival Cruise the salvage plan is the world’s biggest and most complex ship salvage operation and it will cost at least 400 million euros ($525 million).

The plan, which will re-float the vessel’s hull, places the highest priority for ensuring the lowest possible environmental impact as well as the conservation of tourist and economic activities on the island of Giglio, with maximum safety precautions. Environmental protection will be the top priority throughout operations of this mammoth recovery. The plan also includes measures to safeguard the economic and tourist activities on the island of Giglio. Staff will work to remove asbestos. The work is not expected to have any significant effects on the summer tourist season. To further reduce any impact on the activities of the Marina del Giglio, the base for the salvage operations will be off the island, near Piombino, where equipment and materials will be collected for the work.

The 950-foot long ship, with its gross tonnage of 114,500 GT, is currently lying on granite rock. More than 450 specialists, involved in this operation will stabilize the ship on the sea shore with four massive cables looped beneath her belly to prevent the ship from sliding down in to the depths of the sea.

The next step is to drill holes, in granite rock, for the pillars which will support football field size underwater platforms on which will the ship be leaned. To put the ship in upright position, large metal tanks will be welded on the side to make balance of the wreckage during the process of uprighting the ship. More tanks will be welded on the other side of the ship. The tanks will be filled with air which will lift the ship from the seabed. The ship will then be towed to the designated Italian port. Once the ship is departed, the entire structure, used during the recovery operations, will be removed and the seagrass replanted, according to Titan Salvage and Micoperi.

The whole operation can be summarized into four stages indicated below:

  1. First, once the ship has been stabilized, an underwater platform will be built and watertight boxes, or caissons, fixed to the side of the ship that is above water.
  2. Two cranes fixed to the platform will pull the ship upright, helped by the weight of the caissons, which will be filled with water.
  3. When the ship is upright, caissons will be fixed to the other side of the hull to stabilize it.
  4. Finally, the caissons on both sides will be emptied, after the water inside has been purified to protect the marine environment, and filled with air.

Once floating, the wreck will be towed to an Italian port. Once the removal is complete, the salvage team will clean the waters and the restore the marine flora.

The plan was evaluated from a technical standpoint by a committee, composed of experts representing Costa Cruises, Carnival Corporation & plc, London Offshore Consultants and Standard P&I Club, in collaboration with RINA and Fincantieri, in accordance with the requirements and recommendations set by the Italian authorities. The plan was evaluated to ensure that it would meet the main requirements: removal of the entire wreck with maximum safety precautions and as little impact to the environment, tourism and economy of Giglio.

The wreck’s removal plan predicted timeline estimates the parbuckling and refloating is to be complete by Spring of 2013.

Source: TITAN Salvage

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: