The plan is in place … and now the work begins.
Costa Cruises has unveiled a complex four-part plan to removed the sunken Costa Concordia from its current resting place off the coast of Giglio Island.
The ship ran aground of the coast of Italy the night of Jan. 13 and killed 32 people.
This is actually step two. The ship’s fuel tanks – full as the ship began a seven-day cruise – were previously emptied, preventing a potential environmental disaster.
Removal of the 114,500-ton ship won’t be easy, and the entire process could take up to a year, not only to remove the ship but to restore the area to it’s original state. That will include cleaning the sea bottom and replanting marine flora while minimizing the impact on Gigilio’s economy and tourism industry.
After stabilizing the ship, a platform will be built. Tanks that can be filled with water will be fixed to the side of the ship that is out of the sea. Two cranes fixed to the platform will pull the ship upright.
When the ship is upright, the water-tight tanks, known as caissons, will also be fixed to the other side of the hull. The caissons on both sides will then be emptied, after treating and purifying the water to protect the marine environment, and filled with air.
Once floated, the wreck will be towed to an Italian port and dealt with in accordance with the requirements of Italian authorities.
Costa, owned by Carnival Corp., has been extremely careful in managing a mess allegedly created by the carelessness of the ship’s former captain, who remains under house arrest while awaiting possible criminal charges for his role in the worst maritime disaster since the Titanic sank 100 years ago.