Crippled Costa Concordia Ship Is Upright–Now What?

concordiaThe 114k-tonne Costa Concordia cruise liner, which had been lying on its side off the coast of Giglio since January 2012, has been uprighted in an unprecedented salvage maneuver that engineers hope they will never have to repeat. Rotating the 290-meter-long ship up to vertical, performed by salvage firm JVC Titan-Micoperi, took 19 hours—almost twice as long at the experts who designed the plan predicted. The ship had to be painstakingly raised 65 degrees to reach center, and it took eight hours to complete the first 10 degrees, nudging the ship off the rocks on which it was impaled.

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Now that the Concordia is upright, the next phase of the operation can begin. In the coming weeks engineers will make a detailed scan of the badly damaged side of the ship that had been caught on the rocks. The sponsons, or flotation boxes, that will eventually be attached to the so-called broken side of the ship will have to be fairly flexible and move with the sea, Sloane said, in stark contrast to the boxes on the undamaged side, which are rigid and fixed. Each one will be tailor-made to fit one part of the undulating broken side, shipped to the site and fitted, which will not be complete until next spring. Only then can the engineers refloat the ship, which is now sunken in 30 meters of water.

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The giant vessel will rise up 22 meters from its current position, in a procedure that should be at least as spectacular as the parbuckling was. Securing the ship’s underbelly will then take three more weeks, meaning it will finally be towed away sometime next summer. Edited from Crippled Costa Concordia Ship Is Upright–Now What?

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