Mercoledì, 17 Ottobre 2018
GIGLIO ISLAND

Concordia set upright in unprecedented feat

English
© ANSA

(By Christopher Livesay)
Giglio Island, September 16 - The Costa Concordia
cruise ship on Monday was successfully freed from the rock reef
where it lay off the coast of Tuscany in what was considered the
most delicate phase of righting the massive wreck in preparation
for hauling it away.
"The first two hours (of the operation) were the most
uncertain, because we didn't know precisely how much of the ship
was stuck," said Sergio Girotto, project manager with Italian
off-shore engineering company Micoperi, which is in charge of
the salvage operation along with US-based Titan Salvage.
Girotto described the ship as now being perched on its
"knees", meaning that it was placed on a levelled piece of
seabed.
The carcass of the liner will be fully righted by dawn
Tuesday, he said.
"There have been some physiological delays," he said.
"We're satisfied, even considering the wait".
The process of righting the ship, known as parbuckling, was
scheduled to begin at dawn Monday but was delayed until 9:00 AM
local time due to a storm.
Another delay occurred in the evening when lifting cranes
required cable maintenance that lasted one hour, the Civil
Protection Agency said.
Turning the half-sunken ship upright is a pivotal step in
eventually hauling it away from the island of Giglio, where it
has been on its side since crashing into rocks in January 2011,
killing 32 people after an allegedly rash manoeuvre by Captain
Francesco Schettino to "salute" local people.
A search for two bodies still missing - passenger Maria
Grazia Trecarichi and crewmember Russel Rebelli - will resume
once the area is secured.
Italy's Civil Protection chief Franco Gabrielli on Thursday
called righting the capsized Costa Concordia "the first
(undertaking) of its kind".
At 60,000 tons, the water-logged ship is the biggest and
most expensive salvage operation in history.
Salvage costs have already reached 600 million euros,
exceeding initial estimates by 200 million, even without
factoring in the final costs of hauling away the wreckage.
No one is certain the unprecedented operation will go
according to plan given the 15-story, 4,000-passenger vessel's
massive size - twice that of the Titanic.
Crews have effectively welded a new ship onto the wreckage,
attaching 30 giant steel pontoons to its sides to roll the ship
in one piece onto a 1,000-ton underwater platform.
Then they will float it away to be cut up for scrap in the
Tuscan port city of Piombino, Italian Transport Undersecretary
Erasmo D'Angelis said Monday.
The wreckage had been destined for a scrapyard in Sicily.
But the distance between that location and the crash site
is too far, said D'Angelis.
"It's difficult to imagine...the Costa Concordia traveling
long distances, running risks of all types, not to mention
enormously high costs," he said.
The scrapping process is estimated to take two years,
providing a highly sought-after jobs and revenue boost to the
city that hosts it.
For now, the wreckage will remain off the coast of the
resort island throughout fall and winter, until improved
conditions in the spring allow it to be floated away once and
for all.

© Riproduzione riservata

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