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Wednesday 17 September 2014

30,000 tonnes of steel and €600m for wreck

Dean Gray

Published 17/09/2013 | 05:00

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IT HAS required more than 30,000 tonnes of steel in the fabrication of all the components required to lift the ship – equivalent to four times the weight of the Eiffel Tower.

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Any wonder that at €600m, it is already the most expensive wreck recovery ever.

The vast hulk of the 114,500-tonne Costa Concordia has lain on its side for more than 20 months, dominating the tiny port in the Tuscan island where it ran aground and capsized on.

After a three-hour delay caused by an overnight storm which interrupted final preparations, salvage crews started the so-called 'parbuckling' operation.

"It's all quite within projections, both in terms of measurements and the way the wreck's behaving," Sergio Girotto, project manager for contractors Micoperi said.

In contrast to the accident, a catalogue of mishap and misjudgment over which the Concordia's captain Francesco Schettino faces multiple charges, the salvage operation has, so far, been a tightly coordinated engineering feat.

Engineers say they are confident the operation will be a success, although the procedure has never before been attempted under such difficult conditions on a vessel of this size.

"We have done parbuckling before but never on a location like this," Nick Sloane, the South African engineer co-ordinating the recovery for contractors Titan Salvage.

Irish Independent

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