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A press conference was held in Rome, Italy, today by Costa Crociere and the Protezione Civile to provide an update on the COSTA CONCORDIA salvage operations known as the “Parbuckling Project”.

Speakers included Andrea Orlando, Italy’s Minister of Environment; Franco Gabrielli, Italian Government Deputy Commissioner for the Concordia emergency; Michael Thamm, chief executive officer, Costa Cruises; and Franco Porcellacchia, project manager removal project, Costa Cruises. Removal of the wreck will begin in June, with ports in Italy, Britain, France, Turkey and China all bidding for the contract to dismantle the ship, officials say.

Recent operations at Giglio included “winterization measures” to guarantee additional stability of the wreck for the winter season. Completed in December 2013, this consisted of positioning 28 tubular steel braces connecting sponsons on the wreck to underwater platforms on the offshore side; putting grout bags on the inshore side and installation of an additional holdback system for the bow.

A crane was installed on the highest deck of the wreck to maneuver materials needed for the operations. The wreck is constantly monitored by sensors transmitting data 24/7 to check in real time for any movement. The last minor movements were recorded in the 15 days following the parbuckling – a sign that the wreck was settling in its current position on the false seabed. Since then, no significant movement has been detected. The wreck is also monitored 24/7 for security reasons by a video surveillance system with 41 cameras checking key areas.

In Titan Micoperi Terminal in the port of Livorno operations are in progress to complete the outfitting of the 15 sponsons to be installed on the starboard side, and the remaining 4 to be installed on the port side to combine with the 11 that were already installed for the parbuckling, making a total of 30 needed for the refloating phase.

The 19 sponsons will be integrated with the necessary strand-jacks and ballast control systems and transported to Giglio in a vertical position to allow immediate installation and time optimization. The installation of the sponsons is planned to start in April 2014.

The environmental management project, comprising contributions from leading universities and research institutes, has generated positive results. The analysis conducted indicates that the state of the water at Isola del Giglio is good, generally in line with Tuscany’s territorial waters and that no significant damage has been sustained by the marine ecosystem outside the area of the worksite.

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The COSTA CONCORDIA hit a reef near the island of Giglio, January 2012 and capsized, killing 32 people.

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