World's largest parbuckling salvage project for Costa Concordia explained

    2012/06/26

NSFW    The world's largest parbuckling salvage operation for the ill-fated Costa Concordia in Isola, del Giglio, Italy is seventy per cent underway, the American company administering the salvage operation has said.

On January 13, 2012, in calm seas, the Costa Concordia, the largest Italian cruise ship ever concieved struck a rock off the coast of Italy. A 50 meter hole was ripped in the port side of the cruiseliner, immediately flooding the engine rooms and causing the ship to lose power. The evacuation of the ship was botched, despite the calm conditions and it drifted to nearby land, running aground there.

According to the parbuckling project's website, the largest parbuckling exercise ever attempted has so far been a success.

The website states: "The removal plan could be divided in six subsequent phases: The first phase involves the anchoring and stabilisation of the wreck to prevent any slipping or sinking along the steep seabed. This will make it possible to work safely even in bad weather. Stabilisation is performed using an anchoring system made up of four submarine anchor blocks fixed to the sea bottom between the center of the wreck and the coast.

"Second stage involves the preparation of the false bottom on which the wreck will rest after rotation. After reparing the false bottom, the Micoperi 30 crane will be used to install 15 refloating sponsons on the left side of the wreck.
These caissons are welded onto the wreck.

"The parbuckling or rotation will take about a couple of days, as the movement has to be extremely delicate and constantly monitored. The parbuckling will be performed using strand jacks which will be tightening several cables attached to the top of the caissons and to the platforms, which will be pulled seawards, while the cables attached to the starboard turrets will be used for balancing. This is a very delicate phase, during which the forces involved have to be offset carefully to rotate the wreck without deforming the hull.

"At this point the hull is resting on the false bottom at a depth of about 30 m. A pneumatic system will be used to empty the water gradually from the caissons on both sides of the wreck, giving the sufficient shove to push it upwards. On completion of the emptying process, a section of about 18 m will remain submerged."
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