The Sinking / Salvage of the Cruise Ship

Length 290 Meters (952 Feet) Tonnage 114,500
"One Of The Largest Maritime Salvage Operations"
Total Salvage Cost : US $1.2 Billion

The Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia capsized and sank after striking an underwater rock off
Isola del Giglio, Tuscany, on 13 January 2012, resulting in 32 deaths.
The Costa Crociere (Costa Cruises) vessel was on the first leg of a cruise around the Mediterranean Sea when she deviated from her planned route at the Isola del Giglio, sailed closer to the island, and struck a rock formation on the sea floor. A total of 4229 persons were on board.

Captain Francesco Schettino was later found guilty of manslaughter in connection with the disaster and sentenced to sixteen years in prison. Despite receiving its own share of criticism, Costa Cruises did not face criminal charges. Costa Concordia was officially declared a "constructive total loss" by the insurance company. On 16 September 2013, the parbuckle salvage of the ship began, and by the early hours of 17 September 2013, the wreck was set upright on its underwater cradle. In July 2014, the ship was refloated by large caissons (metal tanks) attached to its sides and was towed 320 kilometres (200 miles) to its home port of Genoa for scrapping.The total cost of the disaster, including victims' compensation, refloating, towing and scrapping costs, is estimated to be around $2 billion, more than three times the $612 million construction cost of the ship. Costa Cruises offered compensation to passengers (to a limit of US$12,000 a person) to pay for all damages, including the value of the cruise. One-third of the passengers took this offer.


All operations planned for the wreck, including defuelling, were conducted jointly by Costa Cruises and the Concordia Emergency Commissioner's Office. On 12 February 2012, after weeks of weather delays, Dutch salvage firm Smit Internationale, acting jointly with Italian company NERI SpA, started removing the vessel's 2,380 tonnes of heavy fuel oil. The 15 tanks that contained about 84% of the fuel in the vessel were emptied first and expected to take about 28 days. The second phase involved the engine room, which had "nearly 350 cubic metres of diesel, fuel and other lubricants".The offloading process required fixing valves to the underwater fuel tanks, one on top, one on the bottom. Hoses were then attached to the valves and as the oil, warmed to make it less viscous, was pumped out of the upper hose and into a nearby ship, replacing it with sea water pumped in through the lower hose to fill the space, so as not to affect the ship's balance, a technique known as "hot-tapping".

The removal and cleanup operation (from June 2013 onwards) was delineated by Costa's Cristiano De Musso, Head of Corporate Communications, according to the following plan:
Site inspections of the ship and its position * Securing of the wreck to ensure on-going safety and stability * Installation of sponsons on port side of vessel and construction of submarine platforms * PARBUCKLING of the wreck, rotating it past a critical angle of about 24º from its resting position, beyond which the sponsons would be flooded and the ship would roll into a fully upright position on the underwater platforms * Installation of sponsons on the starboard side of the ship * Sponsons are dewatered to raise the ship from the bottom * Ship delivered to an Italian port for processing according to regulations.

By 20 February 2012, the tanks in the forward part of the ship, which had held about two-thirds of the fuel, had been emptied, but the following day defuelling was suspended because of poor weather conditions. On 3 March 2012, salvage workers cut a hole in the ship for access to the engine room, the location of the remaining fuel. On the morning of 12 March, defuelling operations resumed and were completed on 24 March. With defuelling complete, removal of the wreck began. On 3 February, Franco Gabrielli, the head of the Civil Protection Authority, told a meeting of residents of Giglio that the ship would be "refloated and removed whole" and not cut up for scrap on site. The CEO of Costa stated that after the breaches in the hull were sealed, the ship could be refloated, with difficulty, by giant inflatable buoys and then towed away. The company invited ten firms to bid for the contract to salvage the ship. Six bids were submitted in early March and the proposed removal plans were assessed jointly with the Civil Protection Scientific Committee. The salvage operation was expected to commence in the middle of May. The operation, one of the largest ever ventured, was predicted to take from seven to ten months, depending on weather and sea conditions. By 12 April 2012, Costa Crociere had two consortia in mind: Smit and NERI, or Titan Salvage and Micoperi. On 21 April, it was announced that Florida-based marine salvage and wreck removal company Titan, with its partner company Micoperi, an Italian firm specialising in undersea engineering solutions, had been awarded the contract to refloat and tow Costa Concordia to a port on the Italian mainland. The salvage operation, using the port of Civitavecchia as its base was anticipated to begin in early May, take about 12 months and cost $300 million. Once in port, the ship would be dismantled and the materials sold as scrap. South African freelance Nick Sloane was appointed as "salvage master" to lead the operation. Preparatory work consisted of building an underwater metal platform and artificial seabed made of sand and cement on the downhill side of the wreck and welding sponsons to the side of the ship above the surface. Once this was completed, the ship was pulled upright by cables over the course of two days and settled on the platform, a method called PARBUCKLING. Additional sponsons would then be attached to the other side of the ship; both sets would be flushed of water and their buoyancy would refloat the ship to allow her to be towed away, probably for demolition. In June 2012, a barge was put in place, and the removal of her radar, waterslide and funnel began before stabilisation of the ship to prevent further slippage down the sloped seabed. Concordia's funnel was cut off in December, and the salvage companies were in the process of building the underwater support structure by mid-January 2013. On 16 September 2013, the PARBUCKLING of the ship began.The operation to right the ship and free her from the rocks began on 16 September 2013, but started late due to bad weather. Once the ship had been rotated slightly past a critical angle of 24º from its resting position, valves on the sponsons were opened to allow seawater to flood into them and the increasing weight of the water in the sponsons completed the rolling of the ship to the upright position at an accelerated pace, without further need of the strand jacks and cables. The ship was returned to a fully upright position in the early hours of 17 September 2013.

Background Information

Costa Concordia (call sign: IBHD, IMO number: 9320544, MMSI number: 247158500), was sailing off Isola del Giglio on the night of 13 January 2012, having begun a planned seven-day cruise from Civitavecchia, Lazio, Italy, to Savona and five other ports. She struck her port side on a reef at 21:42 local time. The reef is charted as an area known as Le Scole, about 800 metres (870 yd) south of the entrance to the harbour of Giglio Porto, on the island's east coast. The initial impact was at a point 8 metres (26 ft) below water at the "Scola piccola" 42º21'20?N 10º55'50?E, the most seaward exposed rock of Le Scole, which tore a 50-metre (160 ft) gash in the ship's port side below the water line. The impact sheared two long strips of steel from the ship's hull; these were later found on the seabed 92 to 96 metres (302 to 315 ft) from the main island. The ship had a large boulder embedded in her hull at the aft end of the impact gash. A few minutes after the impact, the head of the engine room warned the captain that the hull had an irreparable tear of 70 metres (230 ft) through which water entered and submerged the generators and engines. Without propulsive power and on emergency electric power, the ship "shifted position only by means of inertia and the rudders" and continued north from Le Scole until well past Giglio Porto. Captain Schettino has said various instruments were not functioning. Reports differ whether the ship listed to port soon after the impact and when she began listing to starboard. At 22:10, the vessel turned south. The vessel was then listing to starboard, initially by about 20º, coming to rest by 22:44 at Punta del Gabbianara in about 20 metres of water at an angle of heel of about 70º. Captain Schettino attributes the final grounding of the ship at Punta del Gabbianara to his own effort to manoeuvre the ship there. In contrast, on 3 February, the chief of the Italian Coast Guard testified that the final grounding of the ship at Punta del Gabbianara may not have been related to any attempts to manoeuvre the ship and the ship may have drifted simply due to the prevailing winds that night.

Situation On The Bridge

Captain Schettino stated that, before approaching the island, he turned off the alarm system for the ship's computer navigation system. "I was navigating by sight, because I knew those seabeds well. I had done the move three, four times." He told investigators that he saw waves breaking on the reef and turned abruptly, swinging the side of the hull into the reef. "I have to take responsibility for the fact that I made a judgment error." "This time I ordered the turn too late." The captain initially stated that the ship was about 300 metres (330 yd) from the shore (about the length of the vessel) and hit an uncharted rock. However, the ship's first officer, Ciro Ambrosio, told investigators that Schettino had left his reading glasses in his cabin and repeatedly asked Ambrosio to check the radar for him.The captain said that Costa Cruises managers told him to perform a sail-past salute on 13 January 2012. Previously, on 14 August 2011, the ship took a similar sail-past route, but not as close to Le Scole. The 14 August 2011 sail-past was approved by Costa Cruises and was done in daylight during an island festival. The normal shipping route passes about 8 km (5 mi) offshore. Costa Cruises confirmed that the course taken in 2012 was "not a defined [computer programmed] route for passing Giglio." In an interview with the Italian TV channel Canale 5 on 10 July 2012, Schettino stated that this was a contributing factor to the accident. In addition, at the captain's invitation, the maitre d'hotel of the ship, who is from the island, was on the ships bridge to view the island during the sail-past. A further person on the bridge was a Moldovan dancer, Domnica Cemortan, who testified that she was in a romantic relationship with Captain Schettino and had just boarded the ship as a non-paying passenger.

Situation On Deck

Passengers were in the dining hall when there was a sudden, loud bang, which a crew member (speaking over the intercom) ascribed to an "electrical failure". "We told the guests everything was [okay] and under control and we tried to stop them panicking", a cabin steward recalled. Coincidentally, when the ship first made impact with the rock, it was claimed that Titanic's theme song "My Heart Will Go On" was playing in a restaurant. The ship lost cabin electrical power shortly after the initial collision. "The boat started shaking. The noise there was panic, like in a film, dishes crashing to the floor, people running, people falling down the stairs," said a survivor. Those on board said the ship suddenly tilted to the port side.Passengers were later advised to put on their life jackets. Half an hour before the abandon-ship order, one crew member was recorded on video telling passengers at a muster station, "We have solved the problems we had and invite everyone to return to their cabins." When the ship later turned around, she began to list approximately 20º to the starboard side, creating problems in launching the lifeboats. The president of Costa Cruises, Gianni Onorato, said normal lifeboat evacuation became "almost impossible" because the ship listed so quickly.
After the grounding, passengers and crew were taken ashore from the ship by lifeboats and helicopters or swam to the island, leaving about 40 people missing.


In the first contact, made at 22:12, between Italian port officials and Costa Concordia after the impact on the reef, an unidentified officer on board the cruise ship insisted that she was suffering only from an electrical "black-out". A passenger's video recorded at 22:20 showed panicked passengers in life jackets being told by a crew member that "everything is under control" and that they should return to their cabins. No lifeboat passenger evacuation drill had taken place for the approximately 600 passengers who had just embarked. A ship's cook said that Captain Schettino ordered dinner around 22:30. Around the same time, a patrol boat of the Guardia di Finanza made a call to Costa Concordia, but no answer came. Captain Schettino participated in three telephone calls with the cruise line's crisis management officer. At 22:26, Schettino told the Port of Livorno's harbour master that the ship had taken water through an opening in the port side and requested a tug boat. Port authorities were not alerted to the collision until 22:42, about an hour after the impact, and the order to evacuate the ship was not given until 22:50. Some passengers jumped into the water to swim to shore, while others, ready to evacuate the vessel, were delayed by crew members up to 45 minutes, as they resisted immediately lowering the lifeboats. Some sources report that the ship did not list until 23:15 and therefore if Schettino had given the order to abandon ship, the lifeboats could have been launched earlier, allowing the passengers to reach safety. In contrast, one expert stated that a delay might be justified considering the hazards in launching lifeboats while a ship is still moving. Staff or 2nd captain Roberto Bosio, is said to have coordinated some of the deck officers in much of the evacuation. He began to evacuate the ship before Schettino's order. Many junior officers and crew members who were aware of the severity of the situation also began readying lifeboats and moving passengers from their cabins before the abandon ship orders were given, a move that has been characterised as a "mutiny". While the vast majority of the ship's multinational personnel held positions that did not require a seaman's qualifications (as they handled services like laundry, cooking, entertainment, cleaning, minding children, and waiting tables), according to a senior shipping official, they had received mandatory training in basic safety to be able to help in situations like this. Although all of them spoke at least basic English, most spoke no Italian. Several passengers asserted that the crew did not help or were untrained in launching the lifeboats. This allegation was denied by the crew, one of whom stated, "The crew members, whether Filipino or Colombians or Indians, tried to the best of our ability to help passengers survive the shipwreck. Comments by some of the passengers that we were unhelpful have hurt us." A third engineer officer from the ship's engine room also pointed out that "Unlike the captain, we were there until the end. We did all we could to avoid catastrophe." Costa Cruises CEO Pier Luigi Foschi praised the crew and personnel, despite difficulties resulting from the apparent lack of direction from the ship's officers and problems in communication. Three people reportedly drowned after jumping overboard, and another seven were critically injured. The local fire chief said his men "plucked 100 people from the water and saved around 60 others who were trapped in the boat." Five helicopters from the Italian Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force took turns airlifting survivors still aboard and ferrying them to safety. According to investigators, Captain Schettino left the ship by around 23:30.

In one telephone call from the Coast Guard to Schettino, Captain Gregorio Maria De Falco repeatedly ordered Schettino to return to the ship from his lifeboat and take charge of the ongoing passenger evacuation. At one point in the call, De Falco grew so angry at Schettino's stalling that he raised his voice and told Schettino, "Vada a bordo, cazzo!" (translated as "Get the fuck [back] on board!", "Get [back] on board, for fuck's sake!" or "Get on board, damn it!" depending on the source). One of these calls took place at 01:46. At 01:04 an Air Force officer who was lowered onboard by helicopter reported that there were still 100 people on board. Father Raffaele Malena, the ship's priest, said he was among the last leaving the ship at around 01:30. The deputy-mayor of Isola del Giglio, Mario Pellegrini, who went on board as part of the rescue operations, praised the ship's doctor and a young Costa Concordia officer, the only officer he met on board, for their help. He and the young officer, Simone Canessa, were "shoulder to shoulder" until 05:30. One of the missing crewmen, a waiter, was last seen helping passengers. At 03:05, 600 passengers were evacuated to the mainland by ferry. At 03:44, the Air Force officer reported that 40 to 50 people were still on board. At 04:46, the evacuation was noted as "complete" on the Port of Livorno's Harbour Master log. The next day, the survivors were transported to Porto Santo Stefano, where the first center for co-ordination and assistance was established. Prime Minister Mario Monti announced his intention to propose to the President of the Republic to grant the gold medal for civil valor to the common people of Isola del Giglio and Monte Argentario for their conduct during the rescue.

Search For The Missing Passengers

Between 14 and 30 January 2012, rescue divers searched within the ship for missing people. The head of the coast guard diving team described the conditions inside the ship, still perched on a 37-metre (120 ft) ledge, as "disastrous". Pitch-black conditions with large furniture drifting around made the rescue operation hazardous. Divers would find a path into the ship and tie down obstacles such as mattresses, before making noise to alert trapped people. The divers worked in pairs for safety and searched each assigned area slowly in a zig-zag manner. The search dives were planned as 40 minutes in duration, with sufficient extra compressed air in the scuba tanks in case of emergency. The divers had two torches (headlamps) positioned on their helmets because underwater visibility varied from approximately 5 to 60 cm. In addition, divers marked their route by trailing a line to be used to lead them back out in low visibility and positioned extra emergency air tanks within the ship. The divers were from the Italian Navy, Coast Guard, and Vigili del Fuoco (fire and rescue service). On 14 January, divers searched the ship until nightfall. Divers and firefighters continued to search for survivors who might have been trapped in the ship, and rescued a Korean newlywed couple trapped in a cabin two decks above the water line, and the ship's purser, who had a broken leg.

On 16 January, violent waters shifted the ship about 1.5 centimetres (0.6 in), interrupting rescue work trap doors were shut and debris fell on rescuers and giving rise to fear that the ship could be pushed into 68-metre (224 ft) deep waters or that the fuel could leak. Operations resumed about three hours later. Throughout the process, rescuers set off explosives to create holes in the ship's hull to reach previously inaccessible areas. On 18 January, rescue efforts were suspended again when the ship shifted, but shortly afterwards they were resumed. On 20 January, the ship began shifting by 1.5 centimetres (0.6 in) per hour, but on 24 January, Franco Gabrielli, the Italian Civil Protection Agency head, said the ship was "stable". The same day divers recovered the body of the 16th victim. On 29 January, the operation was suspended because the ship had shifted 3.8 centimetres (1.5 in) in six hours and because of high waves. Gabrielli said, "Our first goal was to find people alive ... Now we have a single, big goal, and that is that this does not translate into an environmental disaster." By the next day, operations resumed. On 28 January, the 17th body, that of a female crew member, was recovered from a submerged part of the vessel. On 31 January, Italy's Civil Protection agency terminated the search in the submerged part of the ship because the deformed hull caused unacceptable safety concerns for divers. On 22 February, guided by information from passengers as to where bodies might be, divers found eight additional bodies in the wreck. A "special platform" was assembled to facilitate swift recovery of the bodies, four of which were recovered. On 22 February, the recovery was suspended by inclement weather. On 4 March, officials reported that they would use "sophisticated robot-like equipment" to find the bodies. On 22 March, another five bodies were discovered in a remote section of the ship that was believed to be inside the hull. On 15 January 2013, the final two bodies were thought to have been located (those of a female passenger and a male crew member), but they reportedly could not be recovered, because their location near the stern made their recovery inaccessible until the ship could be rotated. However, the companies performing the refloating operation denied finding any bodies.The search for the two still missing bodies continued after the ship was uprighted on 17 September 2013. On 26 September 2013, unidentified remains were found near the central part of the ship, where they were last seen. The remains were subjected to DNA testing in order to determine their identity. On 8 October 2013, the family of missing crew member Russel Rebello was informed that a body believed to be his was found near the third deck at the stern of the ship. Items on the body were reportedly subsequently identified as belonging to missing passenger Maria Grazia Trecarichi instead and on 24 October 2013 it was reported that DNA analysis confirmed it was her body. Additional bone fragments of unknown identity were found in the wreck a few days after the body was found. On 23 October 2013, it was announced that the search for the missing while the wreck was still in the water was completed as far as was technically possible. Depending on the outcome of identification analyses of remains already found, further search activities may be conducted in the wreck for the missing crew member Russel Rebello after it has been removed from the water. On 6 and 7 August 2014, divers found human remains on the wreck which was then moored in the port of Genoa. Half of these were later found inside the ship by the diving team, most of them deceased.

The Costa Concordia shipwreck was towed from Giglio Island for scrapping 30 months after it struck a reef and capsized, killing 32 people.The huge cruise ship was due to have been removed from the island by tug boats on Tuesday, but bad weather has delayed the operation until Wednesday. It's about 200 nautical miles (320 kilometres) to Genoa and the trip is expected to take five days. The initial part of the ship's route will offer the most protection from rough seas and high winds because it will pass through the Tuscan archipelago of islands, which include Elba and Montecristo. After that, however, as it is towed past the northern tip of Corsica, it will be out in the open sea and will be vulnerable if a storm blows up.
The wreck of the Costa Concordia has arrived at its final destination and is ready for final dismantling, a job expected to take over a year and cost EUR 100 million ($114 million). The wreck was towed to Molo ex Superbacino where it will be recycled by the Ship Recycling Consortium, a group formed by Saipem (51 percent) and San Giorgio del Porto (49 percent). These two companies joined forces in September 2012 with the aim of providing green ship dismantling services. Around 50,000 tons of steel and 2,000 tons of copper are expected to be recovered from the vessel. Prior to arrival at Molo ex Superbacino over 5,700 tons of furniture and interior equipment was removed so the wreck could be towed over the breakwater of the Pra Voltri Port to reach the dismantling dock.The dismantling and recycling project is being carried out in four separate operational phases requiring up to 250 people at a time. Around 80 percent of the vessel is anticipated to be able to be recycled.