The Costa Concordia disaster has now turned into a salvage operation, reports CNN on Sept. 16. The massive Concordia cruise liner, ran aground and tipped off the coast of Italy in 2012, is surrounded by hundreds of workers attempting to bring her upright. The giant vessel was deliberately taken off course in January of 2012, striking the sea floor and killing 32 of the 4,200 people on board.
Engineer Sergio Girotto, who is overseeing the salvage, said bringing the Concordia upright could take between 12 hours and two days.
“I don't think we will continue into the night,” Girotto said Sunday morning. “After we start pulling, we should see something.”
At midday Sunday however, the ship had been raised only 3 degrees, or approximately 6 to 10 feet. Thunderstorms delayed the operation.
In a process known as parbuckling, crews are actually sinking portions of the liner in order to equalize the weight. Then they plan to rotate the ship on heavy platforms in order to raise it. Buoy-like tanks, known as sponsons, are filled with water on the port side of the ship to provide leverage.
The 952-foot-long ship hit rocks the night of January 13, 2012, as cavalier Captain Francesco Schettino took his ship far too close to land, causing the disaster. Schettino was indicted with criminal charges: involuntary manslaughter for the deaths, causing a maritime disaster and causing personal injury to 150 people. His trial started in July, and is set to resume his month.
Dozens of crank-like pulleys and steel chains, weighing 17,000 pounds, are slowly working the Concordia off of the rocks. Nick Sloane, a South African senior salvage master, said one of the most critical moments is when the huge liner is first pulled from the rocks.
“We are not sure about the actual weight and how much the rocks are going to hold onto her. We will be carefully watching all the accelerometers and we will be increasing the tension very slowly until she comes off,” Sloane said.
“The objective is to get her to move very slowly and gently,” Sloane said.