The Costa Concordia shipwreck as seen in early December. Photo courtesy TheParbucklingProject.com

The Costa Concordia shipwreck as seen in early December. Photo courtesy TheParbucklingProject.com

The Costa Concordia shipwreck remains upright and stable on underwater platforms as crews wrap up winter preparations, according to an update from the project’s official website, but details about how the vessel will be removed from Giglio remain unclear.

Wreck removal officials in Giglio met with the local community recently to provide an update on the status of the shipwreck and salvage. Officials said that the wreck has settled on the underwater platforms and new artificial seabed after minor movements registered in the 15 days following the successful parbuckling operation. Since then, continuous monitoring of the vessel has not indicated any significant movement.

SEE ALSO: The Costa Concordia Parbuckling in HD Photos

Officails added that winterization operations are nearly complete, with final preparations expected to be finished up this week.

Meanwhile, work is ongoing at shipyards in Livorno and Genoa to prepare the 15 sponsons that will be positioned onto the Concordia’s formerly submerged starboard and remaining four sponsons still to be installed the port side. The sponsons, which will be used to re-float the ship, are expected to be transported to Giglio in spring and installed in April, according to the update.

Come Spring, will the Costa Concordia be towed or lifted?

Come Spring, will the Costa Concordia be towed or lifted?

Perhaps the biggest shocker from this most recent update is that it says the wreck will be ready for towing by the end of June 2014, reverting back to original plans to tow the vessel to a nearby shipyard in Italy. As gCaptain reported in October, the heavy lift company Dockwise, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Netherlands-based Royal Boskalis Westminster, said it had been awarded a contract to load and transport the Costa Concordia onboard their new Type-O heavy lift semi-submersible vessel, Dockwise Vanguard.

As we noted in our early report, the plan to lift and transport the vessel onboard the Dockwise Vanguard was not 100%. A previous update from the project’s website said Costa Crociere, the owner of the Costa Concordia, has only “secured the availability” of the vessel as “one of the possible options for the removal.” On the other hand, an October press release from Boskalis said that the loading the wreck onboard the Vanguard was the plan, even giving a contract value ($30 million) and saying that modifications were being made to the Vanguard in order to accommodate the wreck in its current state, which by spring could be too fragile for a risky high seas tow.

Of course salvage plans have been constantly changing throughout the entire project, so I guess we will have to see how the wreck holds up this winter before we can say for certain how the Costa Concordia will finally be removed from Giglio.

And finally, Costa Crociere has reported that 405 safes have been removed from the dry cabins onboard the wreck in agreement with judicial authorities and contents will be inventoried and given back to their rightful owners.

So for now, stay tuned…

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