Raising the Costa Concordia

| Sept. 16, 2013

Raising the Costa Concordia

The Concordia has been raised - an explanation and a video of the process.

Now that the shipo has been set up-right, here is a time-lapse video of the operation. All together it took about 20 hours tp raise the ship (original estimate was ten).

For the latest updates follow us on our forum on thiss topic. Parbuckling Concordia.

It now looks like there are about several feet of newly exposed to the air structure (you can see the line where the seaweed was growing on the hull). It's a good feed with many camera angles

Sources say that after a three hour delay the operation to upright Concordia has begun. It will take anywhere from 10 hours to 24 hours, once all of the preliminary steps have been completed, checked and double-checked. The goal is to raise the ship so she is resting on her keel, and then to equalize the water so she is floating upright.

"Nothing on this scale has ever been attempted, and engineers say there is no 'Plan B,'" according to preliminary the official web site of the project. It is expected that the operation will garner a lot of coverage on news channels - however, since it will take at least 10 hours, the best rate of lifting being three yards per hour, it will not be as dramatic as, say, watching a space shuttle take off from Cape Kennedy, but progress should be notable.

How the Salvage will Work

An American company is in charge of a salvage team of 500 people from 24 different nations, but the parbuckling will come down to 12 people, including the salvage master and specialized technicians, who will be guiding the operation from inside a prefabricated control room set up on a tower on a barge in front of the ship.

You can see many large white "boxes" called "sponsons" have been attached to the port side of the ship (the side out of the water). Supposedly, these are being filled with water to give them weight to pull the ship upright by moving the center of gravity. Additional, cables at attached to give the lift some help. Once the ship has recieved more of an upright position the same boxes will be attached to the other side and the ship will be "equalized" while come cleanup and repair work is completed. Eventually, the water will be pumped out of those boxes and the ship will lift off the supporting plarform in order to sail.

Those blocks are 11 stories tall and they also act as blocks to keep the ship from rolling all the way over as they attempt to set it upright. After the ship is fully upright workers will weld additional tanks, onto the starboard side (currently submerged) to counterbalance the blocks already in place on the port side. Those sponsons will be inflated with air to float the ship.

More chains and cables attached to these hollow boxes will pull the ship from the top toward the open sea. After about four to six hours, as gravity takes over and the ship essentially finishes the process, the pulleys and cables will be rendered useless and the buoyant boxes attached to the ship will control the speed at which it rights itself.

Technicians will pump compressed air into the boxes to control the water levels, which will create buoyancy to slow the ship's rotation until it eventually comes to rest on an underwater support structure of steel platforms already in place where it is expected the ship will rest on her keel (not an unusual thing with cruise ships, which can sit on their keels on dry land). After she is upright, more air will be pumped into the boxes on the port side and rubber expanding containers on the starboard side in an effort to float the ship. Eventually, the waters inside will be equalized so that she can be towed, eventually to (most likely) Piombino or Palermo, (Italy) where it will be dismantled to be sold for scrap.

At 114,500 gross tons, Concordia is two and a half times larger than the Titanic. This operation is already the most expensive maritime salvage operation in world history. Of course, in this case the primary concern is the environment of the island of Giglio and its nearby marine preserve waters, not the potential value of the ship materials. So far the operation has cost $800-million dollars and it is estimated the final total (by insurance companies) could be close to $1.1-billion by the time the salvage is finished.

Who insures these cruise ships - for the most part it is Lloyd's of London - the only company that specializes in insuring just about anything that otherwise has no specific named or known insurance value. The cost of building the ship was certainly less than that amount, most likely in the neighborhood of $500-million.

Once the ship is upright several repairs to the hull are still required before she can be towed, so expect to continue to see Concordia off the coast of Giglio well into 2014. Experts say the towing is not likely to begin until next spring at the earliest.

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