The mayor of Giglio Island, Sergio Ortelli, where the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship lies, is reportedly becoming increasingly concerned with the salvage of the massive liner.
Salvage crews from the Titan-Micoperi consortium are working against time to right and remove the ship, which is steadily being crushed under its own weight on its granite seabed off the Tuscan island – according to the Washington Post.
Salvage officials confirmed that the Concordia has compressed about 10 feet since it capsized in January 2012. Experts will have one chance to pull the ship upright and float it away to the mainland for demolition. The attempt will probably take place in mid-September. If it fails, there won’t be a second chance.
Italy’s civil protection agency is wary that the luxury liner will break apart during the unprecedented salvage operation and spill its contents into the protected waters surrounding the wreck. It is unclear how far the rocks have penetrated into the side of the ship, what type of lacerations they caused and what condition the structure is actually in, reports AFP.
Without the necessary assurances over the safety of the operation, the agency is saying the ship will remain in the condition it is in until next year, when good weather conditions will make it possible to ensure it is completely safe.
Italy's environment ministry has launched a probe into possible pollution caused by the crash, and divers will take samples of the water underneath the vessel.
Amid fears of further delays in the removal, Ortelli is frustrated by the effect the wreck has on local tourism and called for ship owner Costa Crociere to commit to a written schedule.
The Parbuckling Project released the following statement on July 12:
Costa Crociere and Titan-Micoperi representatives presented the progress of removal operations to the Commissioner for the Concordia Emergency Franco Gabrielli, the Observatory for Concordia Removal and the Mayor of Giglio at Civil Protection headquarters in Rome.
Costa Crociere is now in the process of completing the technical documentation that will be delivered in the next days to the Observatory to allow the authorities to evaluate the parbuckling project – the vertical rotation of the wreck - and give their approval for the operations to take place in the month of September.
Once the parbuckling is completed, it will be essential to assess the conditions of the wreck and evaluate any technical adjustments required, particularly on the submerged starboard side which is currently inaccessible in that it rests upon two cliffs of rocks.
Following the completion of such assessment, it will be possible to more accurately determine the timing of the subsequent phases, which is refloating and towing.
The Concordia wreck removal is a unique and extremely complex technical-engineering operation, a naval salvage operation like no other in history, involving the best international expertise, advanced technologies and unprecedented financial. Activities continue with about 500 workers and 30 vessels at work 24/7. Protection of marine ecosystem, safety of workplace and rapidity of removal project completion are the key priorities of the project.