After initial statements that the COSTA CONCORDIA would be out of service for at least the remainder of this year, the focus now has shifted to finding a salvage company that can remove the wrecked 114,147 gross ton cruise ship from the rocks of Gabbianara Point on Isola del Giglio as quickly as possible. The ship has been the focus of television, digital and print media cameras since it ran aground on January 13th. The following press release was issued last week on Thursday, February 02, 2012:
COSTA CONCORDIA wreck off Isola del Giglio, Photo credit Uaohk, GNU Free Documentation License
“Costa Crociere has set up a technical committee, with representatives from Costa Cruises, Carnival Corporation & plc, Fincantieri, Rina and sector experts, including academics, who will work for the best possible drawing up of the plan, on a joint basis with the competent authorities. As anticipated, in a letter sent to Costa Concordia Emergency Commissioner Franco Gabrielli, Costa Cruises has called for tenders from ten companies throughout the world to present a working plan to entirely remove the hull of the COSTA CONCORDIA.
The invitation has been sent to the world’s leading operators, who have the capabilities to perform the work in the shortest time possible, while ensuring maximum safety and the least possible environmental impact: 1 Smit Salvage BV, 2 Svitzer Salvage BV, 3 Mammoet Salvage BV, 4 Titan Salvage, 5 Resolve Marine Group Inc., 6 T&T Marine Salvage Inc., 7 Donjon Marine Inc., 8 Tito Neri S.r.l., 9 Fukada Salvage & Marine Works Co. Ltd., 10 The Nippon Salvage Co Ltd.
The plans must be presented to Costa Cruises by the beginning of March 2012, for joint assessment with the Civil Protection Scientific Committee, in order to allow the best one to be selected by the end of March 2012. This timeline represents the best possible outcome in a situation of this kind, although it cannot be excluded that there will be delays given the complexity of the operation.”
Smit Salvage from the Netherlands is already on scene to facilitate the removal of the fuel from the capsized and partially sunken cruise ship. In statements about the financial impact of the wreck, Carnival Corporation at first seemed to indicate that there was a possibility that the ship might return to service someday.
“The vessel is expected to be out of service for the remainder of our current fiscal year, if not longer,” said the cruise line. “In addition, the company anticipates other costs to the business that are not possible to determine at this time.”
The problem of removing the ship from its precarious resting place is now becoming a priority. When the COSTA CONCORDIA rises from the seabed, there are three things that could happen. If it can be successfully re-floated, the ship could be towed away and scrapped. Another possibility, although looking more remote, is that the ship could be rebuilt and still see a return to service, possibly in another form. The third scenario is the hull and superstructure could be scrapped in place and removed in pieces. More should be known in just over a month when the salvage proposals are analyzed.
Shawn J. Dake, freelance travel writer and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters, worked in tourism and cruise industry for over 35 years. A native of Southern California, his first job was as a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary. A frequent lecturer on ship-related topics he has appeared on TV programs. Owner of Oceans Away Cruises & Travel agency, he served as President of the local Chapter of Steamship Historical Society of America. With a love of the sea, he is a veteran of 115 cruises.
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