Concordia Part 2: View from Giglio Island

September 18, 2013 | By | 7 Comments

costa concordia salvage
costa concordia salvage
In his second and concluding post from Giglio Island, where Cruise Critic’s UK editor Adam Coulter was watching the raising of the Costa Concordia, he describes what it was like when the ship was finally pulled upright.
Yesterday I was woken at 4:11 a.m. by the sound of a ship’s horn. My first thought was: “Is that Concordia’s horn?”
Then I thought, no impossible, but why would they be sounding a ship’s horn at this hour, unless…?

I leapt out of bed, threw on some clothes and ran down to the harbor front. It was full of people (even at this ungodly hour), looking out toward where the wreck had been.
It was still pitch black, and although the arc lights were still exactly where they had been the night before, I couldn’t make out the ship. I looked again and thought the worst.
But a quick look around me, and I could tell this wasn’t a sad moment: People were joyful.
And then I looked again and could just make out the shape of the ship, lying perfectly upright though partially submerged, a little distance from where it had been just four hours before, when I went to bed. Retrospectively, I think a combination of sleep deprivation, the dark and the fact that my eyes had been searching for a shape that has been imprinted on the world’s collective memory for so long, meant I could not see where it was at first.
Giglio Harbor is lined with bars and restaurants. Every single one of them was full that morning, with people sitting at the tables and chairs outside, many who had been up all night. Engineers, salvage workers, locals, media, police, kids, adults. I wouldn’t say it was a party atmosphere, exactly, but there was a definite air of jubilation, with camera crews jostling for interviews with arriving salvage workers boating in from the wreck site to the dock.
Later, when the first streams of light appeared in the sky and the detail of the damage began to become clear, I walked down to the north end of the harbor, where most of the camera crews had set up, and I took some of the pictures you see here and on our website.
It was still early, 6 a.m., and it was relatively quiet compared with the day before, with just a handful of bleary-eyed presenters rushing down to make their first broadcast of the day.
The extent of the damage to the starboard side was revealed in full detail. Dirty and discolored, it had been crushed in and down from the force of the ship hitting the reef. I marveled at how the structure had stayed together (I found out later it looked a lot worse than it actually was, because the balconies – which were all crushed flat – gave the appearance that the side had caved in, when it had not).
The ship looked low in the water; just the top seven of the 13 decks were visible and the funnel had been removed to prevent it damaging the top of the ship. The Bridge, where this whole sorry tale began, was just inches from the water level.
It was a somber sight.
I walked slowly back the way I had come and saw a vaguely familiar figure standing at the sea wall. I tried to place his face but couldn’t. I paused beside him and stole a surreptitious look at his name tag (everyone on the island – including residents – were wearing them).
I recognized him from the hundreds of TV appearances he had made right after the incident. It was Pier Luigi Foschi, the former chief executive of Costa Cruises.
I introduced myself, and although he was clearly having a moment of reflection, he didn’t seem to mind my presence. I said what an extraordinary job the engineers and salvage workers had done, what a feat it was.
He turned to me and said: “It’s unthinkable that this should have happened in the first place, but it’s unbelievable that they have achieved the impossible.”
And then, turning back to look at the ship, he said, almost to himself: “She’s back up, she’s back up…”
His last words trailed off, and I could see his eyes had filled with tears.
I left him to his thoughts, and walked back to the harborfront where the celebrations continued.
It had been an extraordinary few days. Ones I will never forget.

Read Part 1 of Adam’s blog.

    Comments

    7 Responses to “Concordia Part 2: View from Giglio Island”

    1. Jai
      September 18th, 2013 @ 11:20 am

      Bravo on your coverage of the raising of the Concordia. Thank you for your story and pictures.

    2. ANTHONY AZZOPARDI
      September 18th, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

      I must say that the engineers has done a really a good job .this ship brings me a lot of memories.boarded her from malta my home town and within 3o minutes my holiday started.this was my first cruise (.never wanted to go cruising cause i used to work as a welder on ships at the dry docks )started to explore the ship from forward to aft must say was a beautiful liner.since than got mad about cruises,soon for my next one.

    3. Brian
      September 18th, 2013 @ 2:26 pm

      Oh my word, what a moving description of your chance meeting with Foschi. Definitely a great “score” in terms of reporting, but you treated him and the opportunity with dignity. Great reporting.

    4. Andrea Davis
      September 18th, 2013 @ 6:56 pm

      My husband Laurence and myself are grateful survivors of the sinking of the Costa Concordia.
      We leaped into the water, when we were faced with the ultimate moments between life and death.
      Yesterday was an incredibly difficult day. We think we are ‘so over the trauma’ until days like this, come back to remind us just how invasive this disaster has been in our lives. Reopening wounds…..
      It is hard to believe that we were part of this, when we saw the ship coming up moment by moment, seems like we recalled every move we made on this fateful night!
      We don’t anticipate getting anything back although they say that the safes are protected from all elements, all we remember having in the safe was a few hundred $’s and my iPhone and iPad….. yes, this is all now worthless! Unfortunately, I had left my jewelry in the dressing table drawer. Although we thought our cabin was on the high side of the ship, we knew that the weather and all elements and search & rescue efforts, would have destroyed everything. After seeing the re-floatation yesterday, even our cabin is submerged as the ship is floating so much lower than at sailing level, 3/4 of the ship is underwater.
      I can’t help thinking of the Titanic movie when the grandmother goes with her granddaughter all those years later, to identify her precious possessions…it makes me so teary.

      My book that I have recently published is discussed on my website and is also available on amazon.com:
      Survival Was Only The Beginning – A Costa Concordia Story

      andreadaviscostaconcordia.com

      http://www.amazon.com/Survival-Was-Only-Beginning-ebook/dp/B00DKCZJD8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1379542996&sr=8-1&keywords=survival+was+only+the+beginning

      andreadavis@gmail.com

    5. Andrea Davis
      September 18th, 2013 @ 6:58 pm

      Your blurb is so sensitive and well written, graciously express.
      Thanks you!

    6. Molly McIntyre
      September 19th, 2013 @ 4:32 pm

      Beautifully written piece Adam. Having worked on cruise ships I found the tv footage both compelling and distressing. Well done again.

    7. Giovanni Ciriani
      October 19th, 2013 @ 8:56 am

      The starboard side of the ship was not crushed by hitting the reef. It is the port (left-hand) side of the ship that hit the reef. Then the ship drifted to the location where it went down. Eventually the elements during time progressively crushed the upper decks, which are what you see. The upper decks were not designed to withstand the weight of the ship laying sideways and that’s why the damage on the visible part of the ship is so apparent.

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