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Costa Concordia Refloating Phase Detailed

01 Jul 2014
   

Work to refloat and remove the Costa Concordia from the island of Giglio within the next 3 weeks is continuing with or without final approval from the Italian authorities.

Project officials were at Giglio this week to provide the public with an update on the plans for final phases of the salvage, which will involve towing the hulk from the small island’s shores once and for all.

During the meeting, Franco Gabrielli, head of Italian Civil Protection Agency who is acting as Commissioner of the Concordia Emergency, along with project coordinator Franco Porcellacchia, discussed the next stage of the salvage, the reloating of the wreck.

The refloating operation was explained in 4 phases described below:

Phase 1: This phase will involve the partial refloating and movement of the wreck. On the first day, the wreck will be refloated about 2 meters as engineers adjust the water level in the large steal sponsons that have been secured to both sides of the ship. The wreck, now partially floating, will be towed about 30 meters to the east where it will be stabilized and kept in position by tug boats. This phase is expected to take approximately 1 hour.

Phase 2: Crews will connect and properly tension the last of the chains cables that will be connected to the wreck, as well as adjust the starboard sponsons to their final position. This phase is expected to last about 2 days.

Phase 3: Refloating water will be pushed, step by step, out the sponsons. The ship will be raised out of the water one deck at a time starting from deck 6, to deck 3. The wreck will be in its final refloating position once deck 3 is reached.

Phase 4: Final maneuvers and departure of the wreck from the island. The wreck will be connected to tug boats, and after some final checks, maneuvers to depart will begin. During this phase, port traffic will be suspended for about 4 hours. At this point, the wreck and all other vessels in the convoy will depart from the island.

The best estimate for when this all may happen is not exactly set, but the current plan’s timeline calls for the Costa Concordia to be off the island by July 20, with the first phase starting as early as July 13. As it stands right now, there are still four three sponsons that need to be positioned into place before the refloating can begin.

Now, all this still depends on whether or not the operation gets the green light from Italian authorities. During a meeting in Rome on Wednesday, the final decision on the wrecks removal was delayed after a Council of Ministers could not agree on the Costa Concordia’s final destination. In all likelihood the vessel will be towed to Genoa where it will be dismantled by a consortium led by the Italian company Saipem, but some have argued that the 5 days it will take to get there is too far and too risky. A second option would be the closer port of Piombino, although the port is not currently ready to handle a project of this size.  The Council of Ministers is expected to reconvene on Monday when they could make a decision.

IMAGE Info: The cruise liner Costa Concordia is seen outside Giglio harbour February 26, 2014. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
 
Info gathered from gCaptain Website. 
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