Concordia Finally Heads for Scrapyard

Posted by Eric Haun
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Photo courtesy of The Parbuckling Project

The rusty hulk of the Costa Concordia began its journey to the scrapyard on Wednesday, after a two-year salvage operation off the Italian island where the cruise liner capsized two years ago, killing 32 people.

Boats sounded horns and church bells rang as a tug boat slowly pulled the wreck of the liner, which was around two-and-a half times the size of the Titanic, away from the holiday island of Giglio, accompanied by a convoy of 14 vessels.

Salvage workers gathered in bars at the port, drinking beer and smoking huge cigars, to celebrate after completing one of the largest maritime salvage operations in history.

"It gives us great satisfaction, but obviously a measured satisfaction, a sober satisfaction, a satisfaction that cannot overshadow why we are here," Franco Gabrielli, the head of Italy's Civil Protection Authority, told reporters after the ship began its final voyage.

The 114,500-tonne wreck is due to arrive at a port near Genoa in northern Italy on either Saturday or Sunday, before being broken up for scrap. The once-gleaming white luxury liner sank off Giglio in January 2012 after sailing too close to shore.

Despite intermittent bad weather over the past week, the salvage crews have slowly lifted the Concordia from underwater platforms by pumping air into 30 large metal boxes, or sponsons, attached to the hull.

Franco Porcellachia, the engineer in charge of the operation, said on Tuesday that his team had done everything in their power to make sure the massive ship was structurally sound for the four-day journey.

"Once we are in Genoa, then I can relax," Nick Sloane, the South African salvage master who has coordinated the operation, told reporters.

The whole salvage operation is expected to cost the ship's owners - Costa Crociere, a unit of Carnival Corp - more than 1.5 billion euros ($2 billion), its chief executive said earlier this month.


The wreck's departure removes both the physical remains, which prompted worries about pollution on the picturesque Tuscan coastline, and the visual spectre of a chaotic evacuation of crew and passengers, some of whom jumped ship and swam ashore.

"At the beginning, this ship was a place where I saw tragedy strike, I saw death," said Italian Luciano Castro, a survivor of the tragedy. "Over time though, I thought this ship is also a place where a miracle occurred. It is true that unfortunately 32 people died, but also 4,000 people were saved."

The ship's captain, Francesco Schettino, is fighting charges of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck as he tried to "salute" the port, and abandoning ship.

During court proceedings earlier this year, the cruise company's crisis coordinator said Schettino tried to persuade him to pretend an electrical blackout had caused the wreck.

One person who was on the ship when it sank is still missing. Salvage organisers have said the search for the body will continue once the Concordia has left Giglio.

The ship was righted in September in a complex "parbuckling" operation in which the huge hulk was slowly lifted off the rocks. That took 19 hours and drew media coverage from around the world.

The demolition and scrapping will be done by a consortium that includes Italian oil-services group Saipem and Genoa-based companies Mariotti and San Giorgio.

($1 = 0.7426 euros)

(Reporting by Eleanor Biles and Silvia Ognibene, writing by Isla Binnie; Editing by Steve Scherer and Susan Fenton and Larry King)

Maritime Reporter September 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Passenger Vessels

Azerbaijan to Get New Passenger Vessel This Year-end

Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company  expects to get the first of the three passenger vessels being built currently at the Baku Shipbuilding & Repair Plant (Baku Shipyard LLC) until the end of 2015,

Abu Dhabi Ports Welcomes New Cruise Season

As Abu Dhabi's new Zayed Port cruise terminal opens by the end of this year, the number of cruise ships docking in Abu Dhabi is set to increase by a fifth this season, reports the National.

Cruise Critic Awards Best Cruise Lines of 2015

Online cruise guide Cruise Critic has announced the winners of its annual Editors' Picks Awards for 2015, revealing the industry's top performers in a variety of different categories.


Search for Ship Lost in Hurricane a Big Challenge

Deep seas may complicate efforts to find the sunken U.S. cargo ship lost off the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin, a federal safety investigator said, as a search

Weak Capesize Rates Depress Baltic Index

The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, fell on Tuesday on weak demand for capesize vessels. The overall index,

U.S. Investigators Head to Florida to Probe Ship Lost in Hurricane

Federal safety investigators traveled to Florida on Tuesday to investigate the U.S. container ship lost at sea after being hit by powerful Hurricane Joaquin, leaving

People in the News

USCG Search for Missing Crew of El Faro

Coast Guard search and rescue crews continue searching for possible survivors from the cargo ship El Faro Monday night, covering a total search area of more than 160,574 square nautical miles.

MECNW Appoints New CEO

Terry Weston has been confirmed as Chief Executive of Maritime and Engineering College North West (MECNW) following the retirement of his predecessor, Jim Teasdale, at the end of September.

Michelle Obama to Christen Navy's Newest Submarine

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama will join builder General Dynamics Electric Boat, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics, in christening Illinois (SSN-786), the U.

Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Pipelines Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Repair Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2432 sec (4 req/sec)