More than two years after the deadly accident, crews Monday could finally begin refloating the sunken Costa Concordia cruise ship off the coast of Italy — if weather and sea conditions remain favorable, the ship's owner said. Costa Crociere CEO Michael Thamm called the refloating “a complex operation never attempted before.” Technicians have completed technical tests of the systems required for the massive undertaking, including 30 flotation devices called “sponsons” that will stabilize the vessel, according to the Concordia Wreck Removal Project. After it is refloated, the ship will be towed to Genoa, where its parts will be dismantled and salvaged.
Last September, crews were able to right and secure the 952-foot ship, but they had to wait until calmer summer weather for the latest steps in the salvage process. Costa Concordia ran aground and partially capsized in January 2012 off the coast of the island of Giglio, near Tuscany. The accident killed at least 32 people, and one diver was killed while working on the wreck. The ship’s captain is on trial for manslaughter, and is accused of taking the ship off route and abandoning it when it began to sink.
— Jacob Passy and Claudio Lavanga
First published July 12 2014, 10:27 AM