Costa Concordia Salvage team to upright Vessel
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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.

Costa Concordia

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.

Giglio

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.

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The Issue of Safety and Cruising
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The issue of safety and cruising is always one which people focus on. Part of the reason for this is because the cruise industry has come under intense scrutiny from the media ever since the tragic accident in early 2012 when the Costa Concordia crashed and 32 people sadly lost their lives.

This was undoubtedly a horrific accident and one which should never have happened, but the media portrayal surrounding the incident conveyed that cruise holidays were an unsafe mode of transport and that the chance of something going wrong is highly probable.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Cruising is actually one of the safest forms of transport. It’s statistically far safer than flying and safer than getting into your car and driving to the local shops, or anywhere for that matter. Cruise holidays are also 8 times safer than simply crossing the road in New York City. It’s time for the myth that cruises are unsafe to be well and truly shattered.

The cruise industry is one of the most strictly regulated within the tourism sector. Cruise ships are constantly under scrutiny to make sure they stand up to safety standards, as well as for their environmental impact. There are, however certain cautions you must exercise whilst on board a cruise ship just as you would on a land based holiday.

Below Bud Darr from CLIA talks about safety measures taken by the cruise lines.

One of the first things you will do when you embark your ship, usually before it leaves port, will be to attend an official muster drill.

This involves the entire ship reporting to their designated muster station, which is where you should go in case of any real emergency. You should listen carefully to all announcements made by the staff and make note of any instructions you are given in the unlikely event you need to use them in a real situation. These muster drills ensure that all passengers know exactly what to do in case of an emergency.

As with any travel on land there are certain precautions you should take whilst on board your cruise. You should always use the safe in your stateroom to store any valuables or money that you have with you.

Don’t leave your personal belongings lying on your sun lounger whilst you head off to indulge at the buffet for lunch. Enjoy a few holiday drinks on your well-earned trip but don’t let it get out of hand, keep your wits about you and exercise the same cautions you would on land.

Be sensible, be cautious and remember to have fun and you’ll have the holiday of a lifetime!

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