Authorities on Italian island of Giglio say ship that ran aground in January 2012 has been righted in biggest ever feat of its kind.
Engineers in Italy say they have successfully righted the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship after a marathon operation that lasted around 19 hours and proved a nailbiting wait for those involved in the world’s most expensive salvage plan.
At a 4am press briefing in Giglio, with the re-emerged hull looming large over the port, Italy’s civil protection agency chief, Franco Gabrielli, was applauded by firefighters as he announced that the ship’s rotation had reached 65 degrees, meaning the operation known as parbuckling was finally complete.
The 114,000-gross tonnage ship – twice as heavy as the Titanic – was on Monday raised from rocks on which it had been lying and roll up onto her keel. More than 50 enormous chains and winches were used to break the ship away from the reef – the process known as parbuckling. Metal water tanks – caissons – were attached to the exposed side of the ship and filled with water to help right the vessel.
During the marathon operation, the ship could be seen slowly emerging from the water. The engineers had originally planned to complete the operation by Monday evening, but it had to be delayed by three hours because of a storm.
The salvage project has so far cost more than 600m euros ($800m; £500m) and is expected to cost much more before the operation is complete.
History of Costa Concordia:
Costa Concordia is a Concordia-class cruise ship built in 2004 by the Fincantieri’s Sestri Ponente yards in Italy and operated from 2005 until 2012 by Costa Crociere (a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation). On 13 January 2012, she was wrecked off the coast of Isola del Giglio in Italy. She has been declared a total loss and is being salvaged as of 2013, following which she will be scrapped. The name Concordia was intended to express the wish for “continuing harmony, unity, and peace between European nations.”
Costa Concordia was the first of the Concordia-class cruise ships, followed by sister ships Costa Serena, Costa Pacifica, Costa Favolosa and Costa Fascinosa, and Carnival Splendor built for Carnival Cruise Lines. When the 114,137 GT Costa Concordia and her sisters entered service, they were among the largest ships built in Italy until the construction of the 130,000 GT Dream-class cruise ships.
On 13 January 2012 at about 9:45 p.m., in calm seas and overcast weather, under command of Captain Francesco Schettino, Costa Concordia struck a rock in the Tyrrhenian Sea just off the eastern shore of Isola del Giglio, on the western coast of Italy about 100 km northwest of Rome. This tore a 50 m (160 ft) gash on the port (left) side of her hull, which almost immediately flooded parts of the engine room and caused loss of power to her propulsion and electrical systems. With water flooding in and listing, the ship drifted back to Giglio Island, where she grounded just 500 m (550 yd) north of the village of Giglio Porto, resting on her starboard (right) side in shallow waters with most of her starboard side under water. Despite the gradual sinking of the ship, its complete loss of power, and its proximity to shore in calm seas, an order to abandon ship was not issued until over an hour after the initial impact. Although international maritime law requires all passengers to be evacuated within 30 minutes of an order to abandon ship, the evacuation of Costa Concordia took over six hours and not all passengers were evacuated. Of the 3,229 passengers and 1,023 crew known to have been aboard, 30 people died, and two more passengers are missing and presumed dead.
As of 17 September 2013, the Costa Concordia has been brought to a vertical position through a parbuckling procedure.