Sunday, December 15, 2013

Global Impact: Shipwrecked "Costa Concordia," Off the Coast of Giglio to be Salvaged

According to AFP, the shipwrecked "Costa Concordia" cruise-ship could be re-floated by June 2014, the engineer, Franco Porcellacchia, said on Saturday (December 14) who is overseeing the long-delayed salvage operation off the Italian island of Giglio.

Porcellacchia said giant tanks that will help float the ship will be fixed to its side by April 2014, mirroring the ones already welded to the other side before the 290-meter (951-foot) ship was positioned upright in September 2013.

"This would allow us to re-float the ship by June," Franco Porcellacchia told local residents on Giglio, Italian media reported, although he emphasised that it would be "a delicate and weather-sensitive operation." 

COMMENT: There is still no agreement over what port the "Costa Concordia" could be taken to for the lucrative scrapping operation, although the most frequently mentioned option, Piombino, could not accommodate such a large ship.

The "Costa Concordia" crashed into Giglio's coastal waters on the night of January 13, 2012, as it was attempting a risky salute manuever close to some rocks just off the shore.

The ship keeled over with 4,229 people from 70 countries on board, and hundreds were forced to jump into the sea during a poorly coordinated evacuation.

Thirty-two people lost their lives in the disaster.

The salvage operation for the "Costa Concordia," which belongs to cruise ship operator Costa Crociere, is the biggest ever attempted for a passenger ship.

According to SKY NEWS, Francesco Schettino, the captain of the doomed "Costa Concordia," has come face to face in an Italian court with the tough-talking Italian Coast Guard official who demanded he get back on board the cruise ship as he fled on a lifeboat.

Commander Gregorio De Falco famously told Schettino to "get back on board, dammit," as the "Costa Concordia" slowly capsized off the Italian island of Giglio in January 2012 after Schettino steered the ship into rocks, costing 32 people their lives.

"I still ask myself today why he got off the ship," Commander De Falco told the trial in the Tuscan town of Grosetto.

As the ship took on water after being holed by rocks, De Falco said he received assurances from officers on board the "Costa Concordia" that the vessel had suffered a mere black-out.

Yet, Commander Del Falco's suspicions were raised when a passenger among the 4,200 people on board contacted police on the mainland by mobile phone and said passengers were donning life-jackets. The court heard a recording of a second Coast Guard official being assured by Schettino that he would stay on board to oversee the evacuation.