Representatives from Costa Crociere and the Italo-American consortium Titan-Micoperi today presented the details of their much anticipated plan to remove the wreck of Costa Concordia from the Island of Giglio using cranes and caissons to float the vessel.
As we learned weeks ago, Titan Salvage and Micoperi were selected to remove the stricken Costa Concordia from Giglio Island after beating out several leading salvage companies vying for the historic contract. Titan Salvage, part of the Crowley Group, is an American-owned specialist marine salvage and wreck removal company and is a world leader in its field. Micoperi is a wellknown Italian marine contractor with a long history as a specialist in underwater construction and engineering.
The requirements laid out for the job included refloating the hull in one piece while giving top priority to minimize the environmental impact, protecting Giglio’s economy and tourism industry, and maximizing safety.
To do this, Titan-Micoperi will set up shop on the mainland near Piombino, where equipment and materials will be stored and crews will be housed, therefor avoiding impact on the island’s port activities and as not to clogg up the island’s limited hotel accomodations. The consortium says the work will begin in a few days and is expected to last about 12 months.
The plan to remove the wreckage has been divided into four basic stages, descibed below in photos:
After stabilizing the ship, a subsea platform will be built and caissons that can be filled with water will be fixed to the side of the ship that is out of the water
Two cranes fixed to the platform will pull the ship upright, helped by the caissons (a large watertight chamber), which will be filled with water.
When the ship is upright, 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 according Italy. Meanwhile, the sea bottom will be cleaned and marine flora replanted.
The plan was selected by an evaluation team with specialist representatives from Costa Crociere, Carnival Corporation & plc, London Offshore Consultants and Standard P&I Club, with the collaboration of RINA and Fincantieri, because it best fulfills the main objectives of the operation — removal of the wreck in one piece, minimal risk, minimal environmental impact, protection of Giglio’s economy and tourism industry, and maximum safety.
While the method has been used before to refloat ships, never has it been done to this scale. One thing is for sure however; whatever happens, the operation to refloat and remove the Costa Concordia from the shores of Giglio will be a historic one, and one the world will be keeping a close eye on.