(www.MaritimeCyprus.com) The operation to refloat the wreck of Italy’s COSTA CONCORDIA cruise ship started on Monday is the biggest salvage project of its kind ever attempted.
An unprecedented bid to refloat the giant Costa Concordia cruise ship from its watery grave off Italy began on Monday 14 July 2014 with a delicate operation to raise the crippled vessel two and a half years after it crashed.
“I am a bit nervous,” said Salvage Master Nick Sloane as he headed out to the wreck off the Tuscan island of Giglio, where he will oversee the first-ever operation to float a ship of this size from an onboard control room.
Costa Concordia wreck salvage: Facts and figures
Here are some facts and figures about the 114,500-ton hulk and how salvage workers are planning to float it:
Ship: The Costa Concordia is 290 metres (951 feet) long — the equivalent of nearly three football fields. The biggest Italian passenger ship ever built, it was two and a half times as heavy as the Titanic. It boasted four swimming pools and the largest spa centre on any cruise ship. There was an open air jogging track as well as basketball and tennis courts. The ship had a nine-deck-high, glass-domed lobby and an array of entertainment and shopping facilities, including 13 bars, a cinema and a casino.
Wreck: The ship rolled onto its side when it sank, and had to be pulled upright in a delicate operation last September before preparations could begin for the refloating. It is currently resting on six purpose-built steel platforms — at a depth of about 31 metres — each of which is supported by 21 pillars over a metre thick plunged nine metres into the seabed.
Tanks: Thirty giant steel tanks or “sponsons” have been welded onto the ship, which will work as a pneumatic system to raise it and help stabilise it for the journey to a scrapyard in Genoa. Pressured air will be pumped into the sponsons, expelling the water inside to float the ship. Two tanks added to provide extra buoyancy during the righting weigh 1,700 tonnes, or seven and a half times the Statue of Liberty. In order to empty the vessel’s decks of water as the ship rises, the wreck will be refloated with a light inclination towards portside and stern.
Cables: There are 36 steel cables and 56 chains wrapped underneath the wreck to hold the sponsons in place. Each cable is 58 metres long and the links weigh 205 kilogrammes (452 pounds) each.
Tugs: Four tug boats will be used to manoeuvre the ship into position before it departs for Genoa port: two at the portside and two at the stern. Ten boats in total will accompany the Concordia up the Corsica Channel, carrying emergency equipment to be used in case of toxic leaks from the ship, including 800 metres of oil booms and infrared sensors to detect oil on water at night.
Scale: Five hundred salvage workers from 26 countries, including 120 divers, have taken part in the salvage and over 30,000 tonnes of steel have been used — equivalent to four times the weight of the Eiffel Tower.
Cost: Ship owner Costa Crociere estimates the cost of the salvage so far at 1.0 billion euros ($1.4 billion), with 100 million more euros budgeted for the scrapping contract.
Click link for the time laps movie of the operation at DAY 1: