Costa Concordia Salvage Will Be Largest Refloat in History
The salvage plan for the wrecked Costa Concordia announced today details how salvage crews will use massive cranes and air tanks to refloat the half-submerged cruise liner in the largest ever operation of its kind. Estimated to cost at least $300 million, the job is expected to begin within a few days and last about a year.
Officials from Titan Salvage, a Florida-based firm, and Italian firm Micoperi, who have been chosen to handle the removal, have said they are confident that the plans will succeed even though they have never been tested on a ship this size. This will be the largest refloat in history.
Italy's Civil Protection Agency confirms that the ship will be stabilized by the end of August to avoid any shifting, especially down a rocky ledge where it would drop into the deep waters of the surrounding marine reserve. Two enormous cranes attached to an underwater platform beside the vessel will pull it upright, along with large water-filled tanks that will be fitted on the part above water. Once upright, tanks will be fitted to the other side of the hull and then all the tanks will be emptied and filled with air to refloat the huge liner. The Costa Concordia is expected to be refloated by February 2013.
It will then finally be towed to an Italian port where it will be broken up. Circulating rumors have mentioned that the Port of Livorno may be chosen in order to compensate the Tuscany region by creating jobs, reports Reuters.
Costa Cruises maintains that the protection of the environment during this salvage operation and guarantees for the local tourist industry will remain key priorities. Once the ship is towed away, the seabed will be cleaned of debris and work will be undertaken to restore marine flora.