Domenica, 23 Settembre 2018
GIGLIO ISLAND

Costa Concordia wreckage freed from rocks

English
© ANSA

Giglio Island, September 16 - The Costa Concordia
cruise ship on Monday was successfully freed from the rock reef
where it lay 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 righting operation could last until around midnight,
meaning it would take hours before anyone could "rest easy,"
Italy's Civil Protection chief Franco Gabrielli said with a
smile on Monday.
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.
No one is certain the unprecedented plan will work 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 in a
process known as parbuckling.
Then they will float it away to be cut up for scrap, a
process that could take two years.
On Giglio Island, off the coast of Tuscany, the cruise ship
hit a rock formation in January 2012, claiming 32 lives, after
an allegedly rash manoeuvre by Captain Francesco Schettino to
"salute" local people.
The ship's carcass has since been semi-submerged on its
side, with two bodies still missing - passenger Maria Grazia
Trecarichi and crewmember Russel Rebelli.
Gabrielli called finding those bodies "a priority", but an
operation that can only be done once the ship is stabilized and
safe.
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,
scheduled for the spring at the earliest.

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