Italy: Costa Concordia Wreck Removal Plan Presented

Italy - Costa Concordia Wreck Removal Plan Presented

Yesterday the Emergency Deputy Commissioner for the sinking of the Costa Concordia, Franco Gabrielli, Costa Cruises, and the TITAN Salvage / Micoperi consortium – the team recently contracted for the salvage work – presented the approved plans for removing the wrecked ship Costa Concordia. The salvage work will begin in a few days and is estimated to take about 12 months.

TITAN Salvage, a U.S. company owned by Crowley Maritime Group, is a world leader in the recovery of wrecks. Micoperi is an Italian company specializing in underwater construction and engineering, and has many years of experience in the field.

The plan, which will re-float the vessel’s hull, places the highest priority for ensuring the lowest possible environmental impact as well as the conservation of tourist and economic activities on the island of Giglio, with maximum safety precautions.

Environmental protection will be the top priority throughout operations of this mammoth recovery. The plan also includes measures to safeguard the economic and tourist activities on the island of Giglio. Staff will work to remove asbestos. The work is not expected to have any significant effects on the summer tourist season. To further reduce any impact on the activities of the Marina del Giglio, the base for the salvage operations will be off the island, near Piombino, where equipment and materials will be collected for the work.

There are four stages of operation in the salvage plan, as follows:

– First, once the ship has been stabilized, an underwater platform will be built and watertight boxes, or caissons, fixed to the side of the ship that is above water.

– Two cranes fixed to the platform will pull the ship upright, helped by the weight of the caissons, which will be filled with water.

– When the ship is upright, caissons will be fixed to the other side of the hull to stabilize it.

– Finally, the caissons on both sides will be emptied, after the water inside has been purified to protect the marine environment, and filled with air.

Once floating, the wreck will be towed to an Italian port. Once the removal is complete, the salvage team will clean the waters and the restore the marine flora.

The plan was evaluated from a technical standpoint by a committee, composed of experts representing Costa Cruises, Carnival Corporation & plc, London Offshore Consultants and Standard P & I Club, in collaboration with RINA and Fincantieri, in accordance with the requirements and recommendations set by the Italian authorities. The plan was evaluated to ensure that it would meet the main requirements: removal of the entire wreck with maximum safety precautions and as little impact to the environment, tourism and economy of Giglio.

“From the early stages of the accident, Costa Crociere has fully committed its resources, professional expertise and organization to minimizing the impact of the shipwreck on the environment and on Isola del Giglio in particular,” said Gianni Onorato, Costa Crociere S.p.A. president. “As was the case with the fuel-removal operation, we have always worked to find the best possible and safest solution to protect the island, its marine environment and its tourism industry. We are now launching a salvage operation with characteristics and technical complexities that have never been faced before. There will inevitably be some unknowns in a project of this scope, but we are sure we have made the right decision and will continue to work to our best ability and on schedule.”

“We are very pleased to have been chosen to perform this incredible operation to remove the wreck of Costa Concordia,” said Richard Habib, vice president of Titan Salvage. “Our quality engineering and the experience we have gained in this area allowed us to present a project that met expectations. From now on we will work with the aim of preserving the environment and the natural habitat.”

“We were confident from the outset that the professionalism of our company and our proven experience in underwater rescue and recovery operations could be of service to this salvage operation,” said Silvio Bartolotti, general manager of Micoperi. “Being chosen is also powerful demonstration of the quality and capabilities of Italian companies to manage such delicate and unprecedented projects.”

Source: Crowley, May 23, 2012

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