Costa Concordia's Million Dollar Recycling Plan

Concordia arrival from Ship recycling on Vimeo.

Published May 13, 2015 7:36 PM by Wendy Laursen

The wreck of the Costa Concordia has arrived at its final destination and is ready for final dismantling, a job expected to take over a year and cost EUR 100 million ($114 million).

The wreck was towed to Molo ex Superbacino where it will be recycled by the Ship Recycling Consortium – a group formed by Saipem (51 percent) and San Giorgio del Porto (49 percent). These two companies joined forces in September 2012 with the aim of providing green ship dismantling services.

Around 50,000 tons of steel and 2,000 tons of copper are expected to be recovered from the vessel. Prior to arrival at Molo ex Superbacino over 5,700 tons of furniture and interior equipment was removed so the wreck could be towed over the breakwater of the Prà Voltri Port to reach the dismantling dock.

The dismantling and recycling project is being carried out in four separate operational phases requiring up to 250 people at a time. Around 80 percent of the vessel is anticipated to be able to be recycled.

Phase 1

This phase started with the mooring of the ship at the Seawall pier in the Port of Prà Voltri on July 27, 2014. After the technical handover by Titan Micoperi – the consortium that carried out the salvage operation on Giglio Island – the ship recycling team made its initial preparations including:

Installation of the shipboard fire-fighting system
Completion of the lighting system
Installation of the necessary wiring and electrical installations
Installation of elevators for transportation of materials
Safety measures – e.g. repair of the gunwale/bulwarks, closure of certain shafts and spaces, protective measures in stairways, installation of gangways affording access to the ship
Installation of one crane on the lido deck (about 60 meters in height) and another one forward for lifting materials
Creation of openings required to remove materials and load them on barges for transportation to a dedicated area of the port
Winterization of mooring arrangements (in case of adverse weather conditions during the winter season).

Next, work began to strip and remove the furnishings and fittings of the decks above water. The objective of this phase was to obtain a reduced draft enabling the ship to be moved to the Molo Ex Superbacino dock. 

Phase 2

The wreck was transferred from the Seawall pier at Prà Voltri to the Molo Ex Superbacino dock earlier this week. Now the structures of decks 14 to 2 will be dismantled, including stripping of the interior furnishings and fittings on the decks when they emerge as the work progresses.

The deck structures will be removed in such a way as not to adversely affect the stability or longitudinal strength of the hull.

Phase 3

The main aim of this phase will be the creation of buoyant force in the ship by making several compartments watertight and possibly installing airbags, thereby enabling the subsequent removal of the 30 sponsons currently attached to the hull.

In addition, the food storerooms and cold storage rooms on deck 0 will be cleaned. Following this, the wreck will be towed to Dry Dock No. 4.

Phase 4

This phase will involve the complete disassembly of the wreck including the removal of the remaining interior fittings, clean-up of the various areas and final demolition of all the remaining structures. This phase will conclude with the disposal and recycling of the discarded materials.

The Largest Wreck Removal Project

Crowley Maritime subsidiary TITAN Salvage and Italian engineering partner Micoperi were recently honored with the International Salvage Union (ISU) Meritorious Service Award for their role in the successful execution the salvage of the Costa Concordia, the largest single maritime wreck removal project ever to be undertaken.

The Costa Concordia ran aground in the waters surrounding Giglio Island, Italy, in January 2012, and was parbuckled (rotated upright), refloated and towed away by the TITAN/Micoperi team in September 2014. The ship salvage was the largest, most technically demanding project of its kind in history and was carried out in full public view from the island.

The Costa Effect

The salvage was so successful that it has led to a new mindset - called the “Costa Effect” meaning that everything is possible in salvage operations. Titan Salvage and Micoperi have now proved this for many people.

Titan was the only salvor to propose removing the wreck in one piece. This would increase the cost of the project, but it was the best way to protect the integrity of the environment. 

Environmental experts from the University of Rome were engaged in the earliest part of Titan’s bidding process. Nick Sloane was Titan’s salvage master for the project, and through his leadership the island of Giglio has now seen dolphin, snapper and tuna return to the wreck site. Tourism accounts for 85 percent of Giglio’s revenue stream, and the commitment is to return the environment to its original pristine state within five years. 

A Tribute to Lives Lost

Two memorials have been erected on Giglio to commemorate the 32 people from eight countries that lost their lives in the accident, and the diver working on the parbuckling project who also died. One is a plaque engraved with the names of those lost which is located on a pier near the wreck site. The other is a statue of the Virgin Mary wearing necklaces of rosaries left by those who mourned the loss of loved ones.

Crowley Maritime has released a comprehensive and interactive flipbook about the Costa Concordia project.