The seemingly never-ending story of the Costco Concordia might finally be near its conclusion, or at least the part that involves the ship itself. (The trial of Costa Concordia captain Francesco Schettino will continue to capture headlines for the foreseeable future.) The refloating of the Costa Concordia is well underway at this point, and has gone for the most part without incident so far. Below we have compiled all the important updates about the refloating of the Costco Concordia, as well as take a look at what will come next.
The refloating of the Concordia began on Monday, when the ship was successfully lifted from the underwater platforms it has been resting on since the vessel was parbuckled in September. (For more on this interesting process, check out our explanation of parbuckling, written with reference to the Costo Concordia.) On the first day of the refloating operation, the ship was raised about seven feet; however, it needs to raised nearly 40 feet in total, a process that is expected to take about a week. So, over the next several days the vessel will be slowly brought to a floating position, and then Monday (or thereabout) the ship will be dragged away to Genoa, where it will be dismantled for scrape. (Despite being underwater for more than two years, some parts of the ship are still surprisingly intact and preserved.)
The process of refloating the ship, one component of the largest salvation operation in maritime history, is complex. At the beginning of the undertaking, large tanks that are on the side of the vessel were filled with water, which lifted the ship from its resting position. Chains and cables are now being attached to the ship to help with the floating process. The operation is delicate, in large part because the ship’s hull could crack during the process, which could spill toxins and other debris into the surrounding waters. To help manage the difficulty of the task and monitor its progress, seven robotic submarines have been deployed. The one setback of the operation so far is that one of these submarines, known as ROVs (Remote Operated Vehicles), has been lost below the ship, potentially crushed by one of the chains securing the vessel, according to the Telegraph. Apart from this, the operation is going smoothly.
Of course, more issues could be encountered over the next several days, and even once it is successfully refloated, it still needs to be pulled to Genoa. En route, some part of the ship could come apart, which is particularly worrying because the Concordia must pass through a marine sanctuary. However, the cruise ship will be part of a large convoy of vessels that will be equipped to deal with essentially any problem, so robust precautionary measures are in place to prevent the Concordia from causing any more damage. So far, so good, though, and hopefully the ship will safely make its way to the scrapyard where it can be taken apart and eventually forgotten.