Update (1:26 a.m.) EST: Work to refloat the Costa Concordia kicked off as planned at 6 a.m. CEST (UTC/GMT +1), Salvage Master Nick Sloane reached the Remote Operations Center located on the Costa Concordia with the rest of the team from Titan-Micoperi, according to the project’s website.
Earlier: The salvage team working to refloat and remove the Costa Concordia shipwreck from Giglio have been given green light from the Italian government to kick off one of the final phases of the largest maritime salvage job in history.
On Saturday, the Italian environmental Monitoring Observatory gave the all clear for the start of the refloating operation scheduled to begin Monday, which was considered the last hurdle the project needed to clear before the refloating could begin. Italy’s Civil Protection Department said that documentation submitted for the refloat was “valid”, allowing it “to give the go-ahead for the operation to refloat the Concordia“.
The refloating phase is expect to start at 6 a.m. local time (UTC/GMT +1), Monday morning, weather permitted.
The full refloating phase will take place in 5 stages, The whole operation is expected to take about 6 or 7 days to complete.
During the first stage, the Concordia will be partially refloated about 2 meters up off the underwater platforms and moved 30 meters towards the east with the assistance of tugs. The ship will then be securely moored and technicians will be able to complete the attachment and tensioning of the last cables and chains, and to lower the starboard sponsons to their final position. Once this is completed, engineers will use a pneumatic system to slowly de-ballast the sponsons, raising the ship one deck at a time from deck 6 to deck 3 when the draft of the wreck reaches 18.5 meters.
A total of 32 of the watertight steel boxes – including 30 sponsons and 2 blister tanks – have been installed onto the ship since the salvage project began.
You can see the refloating process by clicking the links below.
Keep in mind that Monday’s partial refloating and move may only take about 1 hour and the action is scheduled to happen when most of the U.S. population is still asleep. The tow to Genoa, on the other hand, will be a multi-day event. Check back to gCaptain for the best videos and photos throughout the whole process.
The departure of the Concordia from Giglio is currently scheduled for July 21, when the ship will be towed to San Giorgio del Porto in Genoa over the course of an estimated 5 days. The wreck will be accompanied by a flotilla of vessels that will provide environmental monitoring and emergency support.
The hulk will be dismantled by a consortium led by Italy’s Saipem.
Largest Maritime Salvage
The successful refloating, removal and dismantling of the Costa Concordia shipwreck will conclude the largest maritime salvage job in history, which has been estimated to cost in excess of $800 million. The salvage has been led by a consortium made up of Titan Salvage, which is a subsidiary of Jacksonville, Florida-based Crowley Maritime Corporation, and Italy’s Micoperi. In charge of the operation itself has been South African salvage master Nick Sloane, who made headlines across the globe following the successful parbuckling of the cruise ship in September. Sloane and Titan-Micoperi will once again be at the helm of the entire refloating and removal, basically until the shipwreck reaches Genoa and the baton is passed to Saipem.
“We are pleased that the documentation sent to the authorities has been well received. Everything is in place and ready, the salvage team has successfully completed the technical tests and if weather and sea conditions will remain favourable the refloating operation will commence as planned on Monday morning” said Costa Crociere, CEO Michael Thamm. “It is a complex operation never attempted before, but we know we can count on the best technicians in the world. I wish them all the best for the success of this great challenge.”
Franco Porcellacchia, who is leading the ship owner’s technical team for the Costa Concordia wreck removal, said Sunday that they have “reasonable certainty that all will work.”
The Costa Concordia shipwrecked on the small island off the coast of Tuscany on the night of January 13, 2012, killing 32 people.