A raising shipwreck effort has been underway for months now in an attempt to lift the fallen Costa Concordia upright, and zero hour — the time when gravity will take over and experts would see whether all their endeavors to right the cruise liner is successful —has passed, though more work is still to come, the Scientific American confirms this Monday, Sept. 16. The rotation of the massive ship from the precarious rocks has been a dangerous and expensive procedure, but one that engineers hope will pay off in the end.
The raising shipwreck attempt officially was underway in its final stages this morning, as the rotation of the fallen Costa Concordia is slowly being moved from the rocky outskirts of Giglio, an Italian island. Although the “zero hour” is indeed fast approaching, there was a three hour delay due to heavy rains and a sudden storm postponing final preparations. The rescue teams and engineering crews were hoping to have the operation base control room set by dawn today, but only when the waters calmed around 9 a.m. were processes initiated, continues the report.
The salvage teams are not small to say the least in this monumental shipwreck raising endeavor. Over 500 people from 26 nations around the world have been working together for well over a year for today’s parbuckling attempt, a rotation effort. The giant Costa Concordia cruise liner has been sitting in the cold waters off the coast at a 45 degree angle for months now, caught on a pair of giant rock outcroppings. Massive pulleys and cables have been attached to the bottom and around the base of the ship, all of which have been carefully set by engineers and rescue teams for the final lift-up.
These giant cables are attached to heavy buoyancy boxes, known as sponsons, that are connected to the vessel’s side. They will be working in tandem with the cables to help pull the Costa Concordia upright. While no progress seemed to be made for the first couple of hours, soon a rust line could be seen along one side of the giant vessel, proving that she ship’s fast approaching rotation was moving.
By the late afternoon while trying to raise the shipwreck, the giant cruise liner (that weighs well over 114,000 tons), was rotated an entire eight degrees. Zero hour has come and gone, and now the real “test” against gravity may begin.
“Now, at this point the control team will have only air to use to control water levels inside the hollow boxes, which will ultimately provide the buoyancy to counteract gravity. That will be the real test of the project. ‘We have faith that our plan is going to work,’ concluded Nick Sloane, the project’s salvage master. ‘We have tested and allowed for every possibility and challenge.’”