At 114,000 Tons, the Costa Concordia Is History’s Biggest Salvage Job

Workers are attempting to rotate the gargantuan steel hulk into an upright position

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Laura Lezza / Getty Images

The stricken Costa Concordia is prepared as the parbuckling project to upright the ship is set to begin on Sept. 15, 2013, near the Italian island of Giglio

It has been jutting out of the sea just off the Italian island Giglio for 20 months, but today the wreck of the Costa Concordia cruise liner will be raised to an upright position as part of the largest salvage operation ever conducted.

Workers have been waiting for favorable weather conditions in order to undertake the crucial rotation, known as parbuckling. If the vessel is not moved before winter sets in, the fear is that the already heavily corroded hulk will deteriorate to a state where it may break apart, releasing toxic substances into the sea.

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The Costa Concordia is twice the weight of the Titanic, and salvaging it is a mind-boggling operation that has already cost more than $800 million.

In order to carry out the parbuckling, a fake bottom has been built underneath the hull and 50 massive chains and winches have been attached to the vessel, as have huge tanks, or caissons, which will keep the ship afloat once upright. Once rotated, the ship will be moved to a mainland port, where it will be searched for missing bodies, and then scrapped. The parbuckling is the most sensitive stage of the salvage operation, and can be followed live here.

Just before 1 p.m. local time (7 a.m. Eastern), engineers announced that they have freed the ship from the reef and have successfully moved it onto the specially-constructed platforms underneath. No bodies were found in the process, leaving two missing people still unaccounted for.

[BBC]

This post has been updated.

3 comments
RobertDeronBeer
RobertDeronBeer

A common mistake I am seeing the the media saying the weight is 114,000 tons; it is not that. That 114,000 "ton" figure is the amount of interior volume, not weight or mass. Displacement is weight and the Costa Concordia would likely weigh around 50-60,000 tons. Nowhere near twice the weight of Titanic. This is totally incorrect to publish this.

BldrRepublcn
BldrRepublcn

@RobertDeronBeer That's a load of crap, Robert.

A "ton" is not a unit of volume (that is cubic feet / ton or cubic meters / tonne), but a unit of weight of mass.

The Costa Concordia could EASILY weigh 114,000 tons, as there are vessels that weight 200,000 or more.

Jake317
Jake317

@BldrRepublcn @RobertDeronBeer No Robert is correct Bldr.

Gross tonnage for ships in this respect is a function of interior volume.  It is often misconstrued as the actual "weight" of a ship, especially without fuels, cargo, and other stores. Wikipedia has a nice description under "gross tonnage"