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Engineers to raise Costa Concordia on Monday

September 17, 2013 Cruise, Headline News No Comments Email Email

Costa Concordia parbuckling 2 - Sky NewsThe engineers with responsibility for salvaging the Costa Concordia have announced that weather conditions permitting, the first step in the recovery process, that is pulling the vessel upright, called “ parbuckling”, will commence at 6.00am local time on Monday morning, September 16.

The 114,500-ton luxury liner capsized off the island of Giglio, with 4,229 passengers and crew on board, in January 2012 and she has been lying on her side, semi-submerged since.

In a never previously attempted operation, the recovery process involves 500 engineers and divers from 21 countries who have worked tirelessly to ensure the high risk operation will be a success.

The vessel has been threatening to slip into deeper waters off the underwater rock shelf on which she rests, but she has now been stablised with concrete with the plan being to pull her upright in one day and although there is a chance the hull could buckle, engineers have ruled out the possibility of the hull splitting in two.

Retrieval of fuel and collection of 240 cubic metres of waste water and sewage to prevent pollution, was completed earlier this year, but environmentalists are warning of the potential danger of toxic chemicals from the ship pouring into the sea as it is rolled over.

An aerial view shows the Costa Concordia as it lies on its side next to Giglio Island taken from an Italian navy helicopterOnce afloat the team will have to establish the extent of the damage on the starboard side and then start welding huge hollow steel boxes called sponsons on to the hull, with several visible on the side of the vessel that has been above water.

The salvage is being paid for by insurance, with the cost estimated to be as high as $US1.1bn.

Nick Sloane, senior salvage master for Titan and in charge of the salvage, said that the more he found out about the ship the more scared he got.

He said the a major complicating factor was the ship’s location, balanced precariously between two spurs of rock on a steep underwater slope, with the teams having to act quickly to stop the wreck slipping any further down into the sea, filling the gap between the outcrops with grout bags of cement and then moving on to the construction of six underwater platforms – the largest of which weighs about 1,000 tonnes – on which the Concordia is expected to rest once upright.

John Alwyn-Jones, Cruise Editor and Correspondent

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