Friday, January 10, 2014

Costa Concordia: Status of Operations

Last Friday (January 10, 2014) Costa Crociere and Titan-Micoperi held a press conference in Rome to update the status of the removal of the wreck of Costa Concordia. This is part of the information distributed there.
Index of other information distributed


At Giglio Island
Winterization measures, that is operations to guarantee additional stability for the wreck for the winter season, were completed in December 2013 and comprised:
  • Positioning of 28 tubular steel braces connecting the sponsons on the wreck to underwater platforms on the offshore side
  • Positioning of grout bags on the inshore side
  • Installation of an additional holdback system for the bow.
A crane was installed on the highest deck of the wreck and is used to maneuver materials needed for the operations.

The wreck is constantly monitored by sensors transmitting data 24/7 to check in real time for any movement. The last minor movements were recorded in the 15 days following the parbuckling – a sign that the wreck was settling in its current position on the false seabed. Since then, no significant movement has been detected.

The wreck is also monitored 24/7 for security reasons by a video surveillance system with 41 cameras checking key areas.

In Livorno
In Titan Micoperi Terminal in Livorno operations are in progress to complete the outfitting of the 15 sponsons to be installed on the starboard side, and the remaining 4 to be installed on the port side to combine with the 11 that were already installed for the parbuckling, making a total of 30 needed for the refloating phase.

The 19 sponsons will be integrated with the necessary strand-jacks and ballast control systems and transported to Giglio Island in a vertical position to allow immediate installation and time optimization.

The installation of the sponsons is planned to start in April 2014.


After the successful parbuckling that took place on September 17, 2013, the next objective is now the refloating of the Concordia so that it will be ready for transportation.

The next operations to be completed to prepare for refloating are:

1. Reconditioning of the starboard side (which reemerged following the parbuckling) to create the right conditions for the positioning of the 15 sponsons on this side. Specifically, these operations aim at creating a flat and even surface in
correspondence with the damaged areas (before parbuckling the wreck had been lying on two spurs of rocks) to allow the sponsons to be properly aligned through the positioning of steel plates.

2. Installation of the 15 starboard sponsons and the remaining 4 on the port side. The sponsons are already built and are being prepared in the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa and the Titan Micoperi Terminal in Livorno for transportation to Giglio Island. They are being integrated with the necessary strand-jacks and the electrical/pneumatic systems (ballast control systems) and will be transported to Giglio Island in a vertical position to allow immediate installation and time optimization.

The 15 sponsons will be installed on the starboard side of the ship in a symmetrical position to the sponsons fitted on the port side.

The first two starboard sponsons will be tied with hooks to the two blister tanks already positioned on the bow, while the others will be maintained in position with steel chains (56) and cables (36) that pass under the keel of the ship. Each sponson will be connected to each cable/chain with a strand jack (92 in total) positioned on the sponson to keep it in a vertical position.

The remaining 4 sponsons to be installed on the port side will be positioned using hooks that have already been fitted.

These operations are weather sensitive and require favorable sea conditions; for this reason, they have been planned for spring 2014: installation of the 19 sponsons is planned to start by April 2014.


Initially, the 30 sponsons will be full of water. A pneumatic system will be used to empty the water gradually from the sponsons on both sides of the wreck, thus providing sufficient buoyancy for flotation. On completion of the emptying process, a portion of the hull of about 18.5 meters will remain submerged.

The refloating will begin by emptying the sponsons of water gradually to make sure the ship’s movements are homogeneous throughout its length. This will be done using a software system with sensors installed on both sides of the wreck providing information to assess the behavior of the ship and suggest the appropriate variations in ballast control.

Refloating will be completed when the maximum possible quantity of water has been discharged from the sponsons and the ship is upright and as parallel to sea level as possible.

It is a delicate operation and engineers estimate that the it might take up to a week for the process to be completed.


After refloating, the wreck will be ready for transportation, based on the authorizations required by the law, to its final port of destination, which is yet to be decided. The wreck is regarded as waste and therefore, according to Italian law, the Tuscan Regional Administration is in charge of authorizing its transportation.

Various possibilities are being considered for transportation of the wreck:

a) Currently, traditional towing is considered the first option.

b) With a US$ 30 million contract, Costa Crociere has also optioned the world’s largest semisubmergible ship, the Dockwise Vanguard, as an additional alternative. The Dockwise Vanguard offers two possible offloading methods for the Concordia: “float off”, which means that the wreck would be offloaded into the sea afloat, or “skid off”, whereby the Concordia would be transferred from the Dockwise Vanguard directly onto a pier or an adjacent quayside area. A decision on the offloading method will be made in due time, should this mode of transportation be required.

When delivered afloat, the wreck (including the attached sponsons) is expected to have the following overall dimensions:
     Length Overall (LOA): 289.6 meters
     Extreme Breadth including sponsons: Approximately 62.5 meters
     Maximum Draft: 18.5 meters
     Weight Approximately 75,000 tons