Costa Concordia set to be lifted on Monday

Sat, 09/14/2013 - 07:00
The Costa Concordia cruise ship, which has remained capsized in the waters off the island of Giglio since crashing into rocks in January 2012, is set to be lifted to an upright position on Monday, starting at 6 am, weather permitting. A team of engineers plans to gradually rotate and roll the ship into an upright position using powerful jacks and steel cables attached along the entire length of the ship. The very complex operation, known as “parbuckling”, is expected to take 10 to 12 hours to complete. The raising needs to be done slowly to avoid fracturing, a possibility that Franco Gabrielli, head of the Italian Civil Protection Agency, said is “remote.” Another problem may be caused by the possible spilling of contaminated internal waters into the sea. However, chief engineer Nicholas Sloane said they will have “a whole lot of absorbent booms and oil pollution barriers. Also we’ll have fishing nets hanging down to catch any debris.” If all goes according to plan, the ship will come to rest on an underwater platform. Around 500 technicians have been working on the project to lift the 114,000-tonne, 300-meter long ship for over a year with costs that have skyrocketed to an estimated 600 million Euro. The second phase of the massive project consists in the ship being towed away to an Italian port and broken apart, although it is unclear when and how this will be done. The Costa Concordia capsized on January 13, 2012 after hitting rocks in the shallow waters near the coast of the Island of Giglio, off the coast of Tuscany, causing 32 deaths. Two bodies have never been found and the Protezione Civile said they will resume the search once the ship has been moved from its current position. Former Costa Concordia Captain Francesco Schettino is on trial for multiple manslaughter and abandoning ship; he denies the charges.

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