Costa Concordia Enters Final Stage of Scrapping

By MarEx 2016-09-02 22:11:03

On Thursday, five tugs towed the last of the cruise ship Costa Concordia's hull to a drydock for dismantling, several years and hundreds of millions of dollars after the beginning of the scrapping effort. 

Other vessel movements in the harbor were halted to make room for the evolution, local media report. 

The remaining hull section extends little more than two deck levels above the water, and would be difficult to identify as the ill-fated cruise ship.

The Saipem-led Concordia Recycling Project removed weight and increased the compromised buoyancy of the hull prior to the move, and with the final lower section able to float on its own, the last of the 30 floatation sponsons added during the salvage effort were lifted away. 

Hundreds of employees worked on the earlier stages of dismantling. Tasks included the installation of a shipboard firefighting system, new lighting, new wiring and electrical systems, new elevators for material transfer, new safety barricades, two new cranes and moorings for heavy weather; stripping the interior from the top down, deck by deck; removing all pollutants; and lifting blocks of the superstructure free. The shipbreaking of the Concordia began in July 2014 and the last section of her keel will be recycled sometime next year. About 80 percent of the vessel's structure and fittings will be recycled.

The Costa Concordia went aground and partially sank off the Tuscan holiday island of Giglio on January 13, 2012. 32 people died in the incident; the Concordia’s master, Captain Francesco Schettino, was convicted of multiple counts of manslaughter and sentenced to 16 years. Investigators severely criticized his handling of the disaster, accusing him of delaying the evacuation and abandoning ship himself before all 4,000 passengers and crew had been rescued.

The billion-dollar effort to raise the vessel, led by Titan, was the world's most complex and expensive salvage operation ever.