Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Costa Concordia Righted

I won't triumphantly cheer "The Costa Concordia rides again!"...
but the cruise ship, which capsized last year off Tuscany, was pulled completely upright yesterday.
It was a perfect end to a daring and unprecedented engineering feat, and adds a few more bucks to the world's most expensive salvage, at a cost estimated at more than NZ$977m.
The ship was brought back to vertical in a snail's-pace 19hr. operation known as 'parbuckling', with no environmental spill seen so far. Parbuckling is a standard operation to right capsized ships, but it has never before been used on such a huge cruise liner.
The Concordia was carrying over 4,000 people when it struck a reef off Giglio Island on January 13, 2012, after the captain brought it too close to shore. It drifted, listed and capsized just off the island's port, killing 32 people. Two bodies were never recovered.
The Concordia's captain Francesco Schettino is on trial for manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the ship during the chaotic and delayed evacuation. "The Cowardly Captain" - as the world's media dubbed him - maintains the reef wasn't on the nautical charts. He also claims he did not desert his vessel, but slipped and fell off the ship during the evacuation... riiiiight.
The liner is expected to be floated away from Giglio in the Northern spring and turned into scrap. But crews may first have to do lotsa work on the ripped starboard side to ready it for the attachment of empty tanks, that'll later be used to help float the vessel away. It must also be made strong enough to survive a second winter storm season...

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