Costa Concordia Parbuckling: Job Well Done!
Conclusion of the parbuckling phase of the Costa Concordia wreck removal proved to be a huge success, as the stakeholders confirm their satisfaction with the outcome.
Despite numerous challenges, accurate calculations and predictions of the designers enabled the salvage team to carry out the operation smoothly.
The project, the most expensive and most sophisticated in the history of maritime wreck removal, represents a perfect example of successful collaboration between Italian public and private entities to meet the objective, resulting in a job well done.
There are various aspects that make this project so peculiar, those being a very special maritime environment, type of the vessel and its size along with the need to preserve the hull of the wreck and its movement as a single peace, without compromising the operation, leaving the area near the coast intact.
With regard to the financial dimension of the project, so far the bill equals to 600 milion euros and rising, with higher costs expected to accumulate in the coming months. Nevertheless, the final forecasts are not available since they depend on mitigation measures to ensue.
According to Costa Crociere, owner of the wreck, the total bill is highly covered by the insurance, however, not in the full amount.
For Costa Crociere, the operation has a symbolic value since the wreck’s uprighting embodies the “uprighting” of the company, which is striving to remedy its tarnished reputation.
Even though the full damage on the vessel has not been assessed, the major damage on the starboard is evident, but there are no tears in the structure of the wreck.
The following stage of the project will entail installation of the remaining 15 refloating sponsons, to be attached to the starboard side of the wreck. These caissons will be used during the subsequent re-floating stage, which is planned for the first quarter of next year.
Having been refloated, the vessel will be towed to the designated Italian port.
Once the ship is departed, the entire structure, used during the recovery operations, will be removed and the seagrass replanted, according to Titan Salvage and Micoperi.
For the time being, the most important thing is to stabilize the wreck and prepare it for the coming winter.
Despite being a major milestone, the project is still not completed and the very fact that the wreck is still there poses a risk for the island and its environment.
Until now 4000 water analyses have been carried out confirming that there has not been any organic or oil pollution caused by the wreck.
The very weight of the ship can ensure the ship to remain stable and withstand harsh weather conditions, still the salvage team will be monitoring the situation and is ready to act in case of any emergencies.
With respect to the search for the two remaining missing people, specialized diver teams from the port authority and recovery staff are waiting for a green light from the police to enter the previously inaccessible parts of the wreck and start the search.
World Maritime News Staff, September 17, 2013; Image: The Parbuckling Project