Costa Concordia refloating scheduled to happen in June

By Tom Stieghorst
Concordia wreckItalian authorities and Costa Cruises executives held a briefing in Italy updating the progress on refloating the Costa Concordia.

The update comes a few days before the second anniversary of the partial sinking of the Costa ship.

Engineers pulled the Concordia upright last fall and are preparing to refloat the ship before towing it to port to be scrapped.

Project managers are targeting June to move the wreck from Giglio Island to an as-yet-unknown destination. Prior to that, they will attach another 19 sponsons to the hull.

The plan calls for sponsons to be fastened to the ship in April. Then water will be pumped out of the tank-like sponsons, providing buoyancy to raise the ship off its fabricated platform about 30 meters below the surface to a depth of about 18.5 meters.

A total of 2042.5 cubic meters of fuel and 240 cubic meters of sewage were removed from the ship last March, along with 240 tons of material from the seabed, according to the project briefing materials.

Authorities initially contacted 30 salvage companies and are in the process of picking one. The field has been winnowed to companies from Italy, France, Norway, the U.K. and Turkey, with final selection expected in early March.

The project has a $30 million option to retain the Dockwise Vanguard, the world’s largest semi-submersible vessel, as an alternative for transporting Concordia.

About 60% of the direct spending on the recovery (about 261 million euros) has benefited Italy, with another 21% of the benefits flowing to the U.S., 12% to the U.K., 3.8% to the Netherlands and 2.6% to Germany, the project said.

It estimated the overall impact on Italy’s GDP at 540 million euros.
 
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