Refloating the Costa Concordia: Successful First Day – UPDATE

Cruise liner Costa Concordia is seen after a refloat operation at Giglio harbour at Giglio Island July 14, 2014. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
Cruise liner Costa Concordia is seen during the refloat operation at Giglio harbour at Giglio Island July 14, 2014. You can see the makeshift plimsoll line of the ships decks, which are exposed by about 1 meter more since when the refloating operation began.    REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

Update (5:15 p.m. EST): A Monday night update from the authorities in Giglio has confirmed that the first day of the operation to refloat the Costa Concordia shipwreck in Giglio has concluded successfully.

During the day, the wreck was raised approximately 2.2 meters after technicians pumped air into the buoyancy sponsons, allowing the ship to be moved about 30 meters eastward. The Costa Concordia is now afloat and moored, which concludes the first stage of the operation. Work is still on going to connect chains and cables underneath the vessel to the sponsons.

Complete Coverage: Refloating the Costa Concordia

Update (1:00 p.m. EST): Refloating the Costa Concordia – Day 1 Time-Lapse Video

Update (9:23 a.m. EST): Towage of the now floating Costa Concordia 30 meters to the east is in progress. A second press conference with an update on the status of the refloating operation just wrapped up.

Update (7:30 a.m EST): The Costa Concordia has detached from the underwater platforms on which it rested and was floating by about 1 meter at approximately 12 noon CEST. The wreck still needs to be raised by another meter before tugboats will tow it to the east by about 30 meters. Technicians have now begun to tighten the chains on starboard sponson S14, as planned.

The wreck is now floating thanks to the 30 steel sponsons that have been attached to either side of the wreck and deballasted.

“The ship is upright and is not listing either longitudinally or latitudinally. This is extremely positive,” said Franco Porcellacchia, an engineer overseaing the project on behalf of the ship owner Costa Crociere.

Sponson deballasting. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
Sponson deballasting. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

Update (1:26 a.m. EST): Work to refloat the Costa Concordia kicked off as planned at 6 a.m. CEST (UTC/GMT +1), Salvage Master Nick Sloane reached the Remote Operations Center located on the Costa Concordia with the rest of the team from Titan-Micoperi, according to the project’s website. 

The cruise liner Costa Concordia is seen at Giglio harbour at Giglio Island July 13, 2014. Italian authorities gave the green light to refloating the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship on Saturday, setting the stage for the next step in the largest maritime salvage in history to begin on Monday morning. The defunct luxury liner is due to depart Giglio on July 21, two and a half years after it struck a reef while performing a display manoeuvre to move close to shore and "salute" the port. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi (ITALY - Tags: DISASTER TRANSPORT MARITIME)
The cruise liner Costa Concordia is seen at Giglio harbour at Giglio Island July 13, 2014 prior to the start of the refloating operation. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

Earlier (Sunday): The salvage team working to refloat and remove the Costa Concordia shipwreck from Giglio have been given green light from the Italian government to kick off one of the final phases of the largest maritime salvage job in history.

On Saturday, the Italian environmental Monitoring Observatory gave the all clear for the start of the refloating operation scheduled to begin Monday, which was considered the last hurdle the project needed to clear before the refloating could begin. Italy’s Civil Protection Department said that documentation submitted for the refloat was “valid”, allowing it “to give the go-ahead for the operation to refloat the Concordia“.

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Refloating Phase

The refloating phase is expect to start at 6 a.m. local time (UTC/GMT +1), Monday morning, weather permitted.

The full refloating phase will take place in 5 stages,  The whole operation is expected to take about 6 or 7 days to complete.

During the first stage, the Concordia will be partially refloated about 2 meters up off the underwater platforms and moved 30 meters towards the east with the assistance of tugs. The ship will then be securely moored and technicians will be able to complete the attachment and tensioning of the last cables and chains, and to lower the starboard sponsons to their final position. Once this is completed, engineers will use a pneumatic system to slowly deballast the sponsons, raising the ship one deck at a time from deck 6 to deck 3 when the draft of the wreck reaches 18.5 meters.

A total of 32 of the watertight steel boxes – including 30 sponsons and 2 blister tanks – have been installed onto the ship since the salvage project began.

You can see an illustration of the entire refloating phase broken down into its five stages below.

How to Watch

These next phases of the Costa Concordia salvage are creating a similar media frenzy to what we saw with the parbuckling in September and it is likely that a number of live streams will be available. We’ll link to some of the best streams here once they are live and be sure to share the links you’re watching in the comment section.

Below are a few links to live streams. Unfortunately we cannot guarantee that the quality and accuracy of each.

Live Stream from YouReporter.it (BEST)

Live Stream from Repubblica.it

Monday’s partial refloating and the move 30 meters to the east is expected to happen the first day. The tow to Genoa, on the other hand, will be a multi-day event. Check back to gCaptain for the best videos and photos throughout the whole process.

Removal Phase

The departure of the Concordia from Giglio is currently scheduled for July 21, when the ship will be towed to San Giorgio del Porto in Genoa over the course of an estimated 5 days. The wreck will be accompanied by a flotilla of vessels that will provide environmental monitoring and emergency support.

The hulk will be dismantled by a consortium led by Italy’s Saipem.

Largest Maritime Salvage

The successful refloating, removal and dismantling of the Costa Concordia shipwreck will conclude the largest maritime salvage job in history, which has been estimated to cost in excess of $800 million. The salvage has been led by a consortium made up of Titan Salvage, which is a subsidiary of Jacksonville, Florida-based Crowley Maritime Corporation, and Italy’s Micoperi. In charge of the operation itself has been South African salvage master Nick Sloane, who made headlines across the globe following the successful parbuckling of the cruise ship in September. Sloane and Titan-Micoperi will once again be at the helm of the entire refloating and removal, basically until the shipwreck reaches Genoa and the baton is passed to Saipem.  

We are pleased that the documentation sent to the authorities has been well received. Everything is in place and ready, the salvage team has successfully completed the technical tests and if weather and sea conditions will remain favourable the refloating operation will commence as planned on Monday morning” said Costa Crociere, CEO Michael Thamm. “It is a complex operation never attempted before, but we know we can count on the best technicians in the world. I wish them all the best for the success of this great challenge.” 

Franco Porcellacchia, who is leading the ship owner’s technical team for the Costa Concordia wreck removal, said Sunday that they have “reasonable certainty that all will work.”

The Costa Concordia shipwrecked on the small island off the coast of Tuscany on the night of January 13, 2012, killing 32 people.

More Photos:

Front view. Photo (c) TheParbucklingProject.com
Front view. Photo (c) TheParbucklingProject.com
Port side view. Photo (c) TheParbucklingProject.com
Port side view. Photo (c) TheParbucklingProject.com
Starboard side (shore side) view
Starboard side (shore side) view. Photo (c) TheParbucklingProject.com
Onboard the Costa Concordia, looking towards shore. Photo (c) TheParbucklingProject.com
Onboard the Costa Concordia, looking towards shore. Photo (c) TheParbucklingProject.com
Titan-Micoperi salvage master Nick Sloane in the offshore control room. Photo (c) TheParbucklingProject.com
Titan-Micoperi salvage master Nick Sloane in the offshore command center. Photo (c) TheParbucklingProject.com
The cruise liner Costa Concordia is seen at Giglio harbour at Giglio Island July 13, 2014. Italian authorities gave the green light to refloating the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship on Saturday, setting the stage for the next step in the largest maritime salvage in history to begin on Monday morning. The defunct luxury liner is due to depart Giglio on July 21, two and a half years after it struck a reef while performing a display manoeuvre to move close to shore and "salute" the port.   REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
Positioning of the 30 steel sponsons and 2 blister tanks. Illustration courtesy TheParbucklingProject.com
Positioning of the 30 steel sponsons and 2 blister tanks. Illustration courtesy TheParbucklingProject.com

The Five Stages of the Refloating Phase

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

Click image for larger
Click image for larger

Illustrations courtesy TheParbucklingProject.com