Costa Concordia salvage operation to begin on Monday in largest refloat in history
The Costa Concordia, the stricken cruise ship that has been resting on its side just 300 meters off the Tuscan island of the Giglio, since January 13, 2012, will be finally lifted back into an upright position on Monday September 16th.
The 114,000 ton Italian cruise ship was initially to be cut into sections, but the idea was later rejected because of danger to the delicate marine environment and the fact that the Giglio is amarine sanctuary.
The operation that is being called ‘largest refloat in history' will cost least 300 million euros.
U.S. company Titan Salvage and Micoperi of Italy will try raising the ship in an operation dubbed ‘Parbuckling Project' that is expected to take between 12 and 14 hours.
The Parabuckling Project forsees pulling the ship upright with cranes and then lifting it onto floating platforms to then be towed to the port of Piombino broken up for scrapping next Spring.
The Costa Concordia was on a week cruise that fatal January ,when passing near the Giglio , Capt. Francesco Schettino allegedly decided to take his ship closer to the coast to salute a former Costa captain, only to end up hitting a reef and tearing a 160 ft gash on the port side of her hull, flooding parts of the engine room which began making her list. The ship grounded on her starboard side just meters off the Giglio port on her starboard side
32 people diedin the shipwreck, and five employees of an Italian cruise company were convicted in an Italian court in July, after the court accepted their plea bargains, with the longest sentence of two years and 10 months give to the crisis coordinator for Costa Crociere SpA (who will not serve jail time).
Captain Schettino is is being tried separately and he faces up to 20 years, if convicted of manslaughter, causing the shipwreck and abandoning the ship before all the passengers were evacuated.
The first part of the trial finished in July and will resume on October 7th.