On January 13, 2012, the cruise ship, Costa Concordia went aground in Italy and took 32 lives. It is viewable from the shoreline of Giglio as an awkward and oversized carcass of metal lying on its side.
Several flotilla platforms for the salvage project surround the submerged vessel. This event changed the once popular summer tourist haven’s pristine appearance to that as an industrial maritime centre.
One year after the disaster, at a news conference, it was announced that by the end of the summer 2013, the ship would be removed.
The original course of action was running a few months behind schedule. But they made it clear that setting an exact date would be “both misleading and unrealistic”. Obviously the statement proved to be true as the Costa megaship, Concordia, still remains capsized off the island of Giglio. Many are asking as to ‘why is it taking so long to upright and remove the vessel’?
Even with the labours of the crews working round the clock for months, the complex reality of rough seas and undermining granite rocks held up projected schedules. The island has seen 30 to 35% drop in tourism last summer and it appears that this will remain the same or higher for summer 2013.
Those working on this massive project claim they are making progress with this delicate endeavour. The salvage experts, Costa Crociere and Titan-Micoper have speculated that the vertical rotation of the wreck and placed upright will take place this coming September.
This is no easy task and nothing is assured that it will be successful. The project entails having the team arrange a detailed observation system of installing microphones and cameras throughout the ship prior to trying to flip the ship upright.
If all goes according to plan, the 114,000-ton cruise ship will be supported on six steel platforms that have been placed on the sea bed. The vessel is presently lying on two underwater reefs with a gap in between them. To help support the ship’s hull, the space has been filled up by 18,000 tons of cement.
If successful, there is still more on the agenda. The conjecture from all involved is that an additional 8 to 10 months will be required before the ship can be dismantled and finally towed away.
Overseeing the project is South African, Nick Sloan. According to Sloane, on the crucial mission that will commence in September, “It’s going to be a long, nerve-wracking day.”
No one should speculate what happened that fatal day that the Concordia ran aground off Italy’s western coast until all the facts are calculated. However, the cruise industry upholds an exceptional safety record.
WATCH THE 3D VIDEO OF THE COSTA CONCORDIA SINKING
Several changes to cruise line policies have transpired through the Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review with the participation of International Maritime Organization (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee, The European Cruise Council (ECC) and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
The first of new safety policies were adapted in June 2012, including the issue of the proper recording of each passenger’s nationality and pertinent information and on elements of musters and emergency instructions.
Since then, these organisations have issued several adjustments to previous guidelines to assure the public that what had transpired aboard the Costa Concordia will never occur again.
Written by our guest blogger Veronica Shine