Refloating the 114,000 Ton Costa Concordia
On Monday, one of the biggest maritime operations began—to refloat the Costa Concordia, a cruise ship that capsized in January 2012. Titan Salvage, an American company, is in charge of refloating the vessel and preparing it to be towed to a Genoa port, where it will be scrapped.
Over two years ago, the Costa Concordia struck a reef near Giglio Island and capsized, taking 32 lives. The original accident brought forward many questions regarding responsibility for the accident. The captain of the vessel is being tried in Tuscany for manslaughter and abandoning ship.
Historic $2 Billion Maritime Operation
The operation was organized in response to fears that, if the vessel were to fall apart, toxic chemicals could be released into the sea. In addition, the damage would make the task of towing the vessel away much more difficult.
Measuring at 290 meters long, the Costa Concordia is nearly three football fields in length and weighs approximately 114,000 tons. A 19-hour operation successfully righted the vessel with the help of more than twenty sponsons (huge metal tanks) pumped full of pressured air, adding another 60 tons to the load. Once the engineers have completed all the necessary steps to securing the vessel afloat, they will prepare for the process of towing the Costa Concordia to Genoa. With more than 114,000 tons in the load, the tow may reach a top speed of about two knots, or 2.3 miles per hour.
The entire operation of refloating and towing the Costa Concordia is expected to take a week to complete and cost approximately $2 billion, making it one of largest maritime operations in history. It will involve the support of five hundred salvage workers, including 120 divers.
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