February 3, 2014
Costa Concordia, A Look Back
(11:25 a.m. EST)-- A diver working on the Costa Concordia salvage operation died on Saturday afternoon following an underwater accident. According to news reports he cut his leg on metal sheeting while working 10 feet underwater and bled to death.
The man, named in the media as 41-year-old Israel Franco Moreno, of Spain, was part of a team attaching huge flotation tanks to the starboard side of the stricken cruise ship. Concordia ran aground on a rocky reef off the Italian island of Giglio on January 13, 2012, and foundered, claiming 32 lives. The salvage work Moreno was undertaking is aimed at refloating Concordia so that it can be towed away and sold for scrap.
ANSA, the Italian news service, said Moreno was assisted by his diving partner and quickly transferred to the project's headquarters where paramedics were waiting. The injured diver was then airlifted to hospital, but later died from his injuries. An investigation into the accident is now underway. This is the first death that has occurred during work on Concordia's salvage project, though ANSA has reported two injuries since the project began. In April last year a worker fell backwards suffering a head injury and fracturing his collarbone, and a month later a worker was hospitalized while carrying out drilling operations.
In a statement Costa expressed its "deep sorrow" over Moreno's death and said it had organised post-traumatic stress specialists to visit the island and provide counselling and support for the dead man's colleagues.
The ship, which lay partially submerged just meters from Giglio's shoreline for 20 months, was lowered onto an underwater platform in September 2013 in a massive undertaking known as "The Parbuckling Project." During the parbuckling, steel cables and winches rolled the 114,000-ton Concordia off its side to an upright position. The ship was then lowered onto an underwater concrete platform, which had been built below the ship to prevent it from damaging the reef or the waters of the protected marine sanctuary that surrounds Giglio.
Costa Concordia is due to be re-floated and towed away in June. The trial of the ship's captain Francesco Schettino, who is accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and leaving the ship before all passengers were evacuated, continues.
--by Jeannine Williamson, Cruise Critic Contributor