17 Sep 2013

Costa Concordia raised from rocks – video

Efforts to refloat the stricken cruise liner Costa Concordia continue. Some 500 technicians have been working on the 225m euro salvage project for more than 24 hours.

In a 19-hour operation which, ended at 1am UK time, the 114,500-ton ship was pulled upright by a series of huge jacks and cables and left resting in 30m of water on underwater platforms drilled into the rocky seabed.

As first light broke, the marks of its long period on the rocks were visible.

Brown mud stains scarred the hull, which was gashed and dented after being crushed under its own weight.

Watch: Costa Concordia salvage operation - time lapse video

Relaxing in Giglio port following the strenuous operation, salvage master Nicholas Sloane said the damage had had surprisingly little effect on the rotation effort.

The so-called “parbuckling“operation, in which the hulk was painstakingly rotated upright, took longer than the 10-12 hours estimated but engineers said it had gone exceptionally smoothly.

As part of a salvage project estimated to cost more than 600m euro, the vessel will remain in place for several months while it is stabilised and refloated before being towed away to be broken up for scrap.

Raising the wreck

The Concordia has lain half-submerged on its side just off the Italian island of Giglio since it ran aground and sank with the loss of 32 lives on 13 January 2012.

After a day of slow and painstaking work, the ship had been lifted by more than 25 degrees from its original resting place and progress towards bringing it fully upright was expected to take no more than a few hours.

Work began at 7am after a three-hour delay due to an overnight storm and progress was slower than originally estimated but engineers said the project had matched their expectations fully.

The rotation was completed on Tuesday at 3am UK time.

“The parbuckling operation has finished, the rotation has completed its course,” said Civil Protection Unit Franco Gabrielli at a briefing shortly after the rotation was completed.

“When we left the offices it had reached zero degrees which was the objective. The ship is now resting on the platforms” Mr Gabrielli said.

Franco Porcellacchia, leader of Costa Cruise’s technical team, said: “The rotation happened the way we thought it would happen and the way we hoped it would happen.

“It was a perfect operation, I would say, and from the environmental point of view I have to say there are no evidence so far of impact to the environment.

He added: “This is an amazing operation, not because it is the first time a parbuckling has been carried out, but because it is the first time a ship this big has been parbuckled.”

As searchlights lit up the salvage scene in the port of Giglio, the flank of the ship was seen to be extensively damaged and a dirty brown water mark stained the white hull.

No sign of bodies

The Concordia was carrying more than 4,000 people when it hit rocks off Giglio and capsized.

Two bodies have yet to be recovered and underwater cameras failed to find any sign of them as darkness fell.

One of the victims was a middle-aged Italian passenger, Maria Grazia Trecarichi, and the other a Filipino waiter, Russel Terence Rebello.

In contrast to the accident, a catalogue of mishap and misjudgement over which the Concordia’s captain Francesco Schettino faces multiple charges, the salvage operation has so far been a tightly coordinated engineering feat.

A multinational team of 500 salvage engineers has been on Giglio for most of the past year, stabilising the wreck and preparing for the lifting operation, which has never been attempted on such a large vessel in such conditions.

Five people were found guilty of manslaughter and Mr Schettino, remains on trial, accused of multiple manslaughter.

Watch a time lapse of the Costa Concordia salvage operation below.