Confirmed: Costa Concordia Will Be Refloated by End of Summer

Published Jun 25, 2013 4:03 PM by The Maritime Executive

The engineers of the Titan-Micoperi salvage consortium confirm that the "parbuckling” of the Concordia can be completed by the end of summer 2013, at the beginning of September.

The Chief Commissioner for the Costa Concordia shipwreck emergency, Prefect Franco Gabrielli, at the presence of Giglio Mayor Sergio Ortelli, has met the population of the island of Giglio together with the President of the Observatory, Maria Sargentini, Costa Crociere and Titan-Micoperi to provide an update on the Costa Concordia wreck removal progress and communicate the timing of the next phases of the project.

Technical details will be presented to authorities for the needed approvals. The parbuckling will allow to check the currently submerged and, therefore, inaccessible side of the wreck, make repairs and, more generally, perform a technical assessment on the overall condition of the wreck in view of its refloating and subsequent transport.

At the end of such assessment, the timing of the following phases will be determined more accurately. Also, the parbuckling timing will not interfere with the tourist season. In the meantime, today at Giglio technicians are positioning the last of the six subsea platforms that will ensure the safety support of the wreck after its vertical rotation.

The platform weighs about 1,000 tons, is 32 meters long and 22 meters high and is supported by 5 large pillars (over 1.5 meters in diameter) attached to the granite bottom at a depth of about 10 meters.

The installation of high strength grout bags and mattresses, required to fill the gap between the two spurs of rock on which the wreck lies, is also in progress. Two of the eleven sponsons have already been positioned, welded and attached on the emerged side of the ship and will be used during the rotation phase. Before the parbuckling another 9 sponsons will be positioned.

The sponsons, built by Fincantieri, are made of steel and have a size of 10.5 x 11.5 meters, 20 or 30 meter high. After the parbuckling, another 4 sponsons will be installed to reach the total of 15. Following the parbuckling, another 15 sponsons will be installed on the starboard side of the wreck in a symmetrical position to those on the left side. The installation of the 30 sponsons will allow the refloating of the wreck.

The Concordia wreck removal is a unique and extremely complex technical-engineering operation, a naval salvage operation like no other in history, involving the best international expertise and advanced technologies. Activities continue with about 500 workers and 30 vessels at work 24/7. Environmental protection is a priority in the removal operations.

To date, there no damage has been registered to the marine ecosystem outside the area of the construction site. In addition, on June 15, ARPA (Regional Agency for Environmental Protection of Tuscany) and ISPRA have highlighted that all samplings and analyses, conducted since January 2012, have not detected any critical issue. Even the sampling cycles carried out inside the ship are not a source of worry.

Parbuckling: This term refers to the reversal of the wreck by the action of cables and rods. It is a very delicate operation in that it is necessary to distribute the forces in an optimal way to rotate the wreck without deforming or damaging the hull. The only rotation of the hull will last about two days.