Concordia wreck raised at last

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Faced with crippling losses on his £30 million 1980 film Raise The Titanic, impresario Lew Grade famously remarked “It would have been cheaper to lower the Atlantic.”
Costa Crociere, parent company Carnival Corporation and their insurers could be forgiven for thinking along the same lines now that estimates for the cost of re-floating and scrapping Costa Concordia are reported to be reaching £1.2 billion.
Albeit that they would have had to lower only the Mediterranean – a smaller undertaking than draining the Atlantic. At 114,000 gross tons, Concordia was almost two-and-a-half times the size of Titanic.
The operation to raise the wreckage from its makeshift cradle off the coast of the Italian island of Giglio entered its final stages today.
Within a few hours, as water was pumped out of the giant tanks welded to the ship’s hull, the vessel had risen by enough for tugs to drag it 30 metres out to sea where divers will make a further inspection.
If everything else goes to plan by the end of the week the hulk will be ready for its final journey to Genoa, where the ship was built in 2004 and where it will be broken up for scrap.
It is almost two years since the vessel hit rocks and capsized with the loss of 32 lives. The ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, is still on trial for manslaughter, negligence and shipwreck.
A further search for the remains of an Indian waiter, Russel Rebello, whose body has never been recovered, will be carried out after the vessel has been moved.
Franco Porcellacchia, the engineer in charge of the operation, told a news conference today that “the ship is upright and not listing. This is extremely positive.
“As with anything being done for the first time, there are risks. But we are confident.”
The 230-mile journey to Genoa should begin next Monday, July 21, and is expected to take about five days.
Referring to the £1.2 billion cost of the recovery, Costa chief executive Michael Thamm claimed that the operation will contribute about £600 million to the Italian economy – more than the cost of building the ship in the first place.

By | 2014-07-14T16:17:00+00:00 14 July 2014|Cruise news|0 Comments

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John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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