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Costa Concordia Salvage

Cruise Critic
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    September 16, 2013: Sunrise on the day the cruise ship Costa Concordia is scheduled to be drawn upright in a process known as "parbuckling."

    The parbuckling operation will take between 10 and 12 hours as the ship is rotated upright from a 65-degree angle.

    --Photo by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor

    During the parbuckling operation, cables that have been attached to several anchor blocks drilled into the seabed will support the ship while 11 huge flotation tanks, or sponsons -- some as big as an 11-story building -- have been welded to the side of the hull to provide leverage and buoyancy as it is rotated.

    Local ferries and ships will be banned from the area during the operation, and a no-fly zone will be created overhead as every stage of the process is meticulously monitored.

    If the process is successful, workers will also be looking for the bodies of two victims who have never been found, an Italian passenger and a Filipino crewmember.

    --Photo by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor

    In the early morning, journalists wait to hear when the salvage operations will begin. A storm overnight delayed the project by two hours. No damage was caused by the storm, but necessary last-minute operations had to be postponed.

    --Photo by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor

    The "parbuckling project" is a joint salvage operation being conducted by two salvage firms, Titan and Micoperi, and being overseen by Nick Sloane.

    It's the most ambitious salvage operation ever attempted for a ship of this size, and a team of 500 experts including divers, technicians, welders and engineers from 24 countries have been working around the clock since shortly after the disaster occurred to prepare the vessel, which lies on a precarious underwater precipice.

    --Photo by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor

    Photographers and journalists from media outlets around the world are finding any available spot to document the parbuckling event -- including residents' apartments and rocky outcrops along the shoreline.

    --Photo by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor

    A Giglio street scene: The streets have been cordoned off along the waterfront, with police manning barriers and only allowing accredited journalists -- and 'residentes' -- past.

    --Photo by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor

    Costa Concordia lies on its side, with winches and steel cables attached, soon after the operation officially started at 9 am CET. It's impossible to see the ship moving from shore, given how slowly it's moving. The rate of rotation is about nine feet (three meters/yards) per hour.

    --Photo by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor

    Journalists, photographers and cameramen mill around outside the press tent.

    --Photo by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor

    From inside the packed tent, several video screens are relaying images live from the site of the salvage operations.

    --Photo by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor

    Members of the Titan-Micoperi salvage crew take a well-earned break. Their work may be done, now that the parbuckling has commenced.

    --Photo by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor

    Small boats and pleasure craft line the harbor-front, with the 1,000-foot-long, 115,000-ton hulk of Costa Concordia dominating the background.

    --Photo by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor

    A sign on a shop urges sightseers to be respectful and remember that the Costa Concordia disaster was first and foremost a tragedy for the families who lost loved ones on the ship, and to keep at least 150 meters (500 feet) away from the site.

    --Photo by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor

    The whole of the harborfront is lined with journalists, photographers, camera crews and onlookers.

    --Photo by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor

    An Italian broadcaster relays the news with the ship in the background.

    --Photo by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor

    Costa Concordia crashed into a reef on the night of January 13, 2012. Thirty-two people were killed the accident off the rocky coastline of Giglio, part of a chain of islands in a protected marine sanctuary.

    --Photo by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor

    The waterline and rust on the formerly submerged part of the Concordia is clearly visible now, as it continues to be painstakingly winched to an upright position -– a process that will take until at least 9 p.m. CET today to complete.

    --Photo by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor

    After a 19-hour operation, engineers from the Titan-Micoperi salvage consortium declared that Costa Concordia had reached vertical at 4 a.m. Central European Time (10:00 p.m. EDT). The rust and damage to the portion of the ship that was submerged for 20 months is particularly striking when set against the non-submerged portion.

    --Photo by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor

    The damage on the ship is clearly visible. The middle section has been badly crumpled and collapsed after 18 months on the reef, and rust covers the starboard side.

    --Photo by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor

    Camera crews crowd Nick Sloane, the salvage operator who masterminded the Parbuckling Project in a late-night scene.

    --Photo by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor

    Salvage operators head out towards the raised ship from Giglio Harbor in the early morning.

    --Photo by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor

    Broadcasters line the waterfront on the pier, reporting on the success of the operation.

    --Photo by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor

    The beautiful harborfront of Giglio. Boats and ferries are being allowed to leave the island now that the parbuckling process has been completed.

    --Photo by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor

    The 1,000-foot long, 115,000-ton Concordia sits upright in 30 metres (100 feet) of water on its artificial sea-bed. Seven floors are visible, including the bridge. The difference in damage to the submerged side of the ship becomes readily apparent when compared to the non-submerged side, seen here..

    --Photo by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor

    Updated April 07, 2020

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