Update: The Costa Concordia refloating phase has been set to begin Monday, July 14, 2014.
Previous: Project officials were at Giglio this week to provide the public with an update on the plans for final phases of the salvage of the Costa Concordia cruise liner, which will involve towing the hulk from the small island’s shores once and for all.
During the meeting, Franco Gabrielli, head of Italian Civil Protection Agency who is acting as Commissioner of the Concordia Emergency, along with project coordinator Franco Porcellacchia, discussed the next stage of the salvage, the reloating of the wreck.
The refloating operation was explained in 4 phases described below:
Phase 1: This phase will involve the partial refloating and movement of the wreck. On the first day, the wreck will be refloated about 2 meters as engineers adjust the water level in the large steel sponsons that have been secured to both sides of the ship. The wreck, now partially floating, will be towed about 30 meters to the east where it will be stabilized and kept in position by tug boats. This phase is expected to take approximately 1 hour.
Phase 2: Crews will connect and properly tension the last of the chains cables that will be connected to the wreck, as well as adjust the starboard sponsons to their final position. This phase is expected to last about 2 days.
Phase 3: Refloating water will be pushed, step by step, out the sponsons. The ship will be raised out of the water one deck at a time starting from deck 6, to deck 3. The wreck will be in its final refloating position once deck 3 is reached.
Phase 4: Final maneuvers and departure of the wreck from the island. The wreck will be connected to tug boats, and after some final checks, maneuvers to depart will begin. During this phase, port traffic will be suspended for about 4 hours. At this point, the wreck and all other vessels in the convoy will depart from the island.
The best estimate for when this all may happen is not exactly set, but the current plan’s timeline calls for the Costa Concordia to be off the island by July 20, with the first phase starting as early as July 13. All 30 sponsons needed for the refloating phase are now in place.
Once the wreck is refloated, it will be towed by tugs to the port of Genoa where it will be scrapped.
Some illustrations of the refloating are shown below: