M/S Costa Concordia incidents January 13-14, 2012 caused by ship not being seaworthy - Part 11
Up righting, lift off, re-floating and towing away of the wreck at a cost of USD1.5 billion. Why all secrecy about what happens underwater? The wreck is still only floating assisted by sponsons and can sink at any moment, if a valve leaks. Attempt to scrap wreck at port of Genoa

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11. Uprighting, lift off, re-floating, towing away, arrival at port of Genoa and attempt to scrap the wreck of M/S Costa Concordia in very secret wreck $ 1.5 billion removal operations 2012-2014: nobody knows what really happens below water. The water filled wreck is still only floating assisted by sponsons and can sink at any moment, if a valve leaks. No underwater pictures of the wreck have ever been published. Media continue to report nonsense

Summary: The removal of the M/S Costa Concordia wreck from the shore of Isola del Giglio ended July 2014. In lieu of scrapping it in situ or lifting the wreck using floating pontoons and towing it away by reputable companies, which would have taken a short time 2012, the wreck owner decided to use a strange method - parbuckling the wreck upright on a false sea floor and adding buoyancy tanks - sponsons - underwater to be able to re-float and remove the wreck. In the process the wreck was further structurally damaged by the forces of nature and the incompetent Salvors. M/S Costa Concordia was substandard, unseaworthy and unsafe prior sinking 14 January 2012 and was operated by an incompetent ship owner. To allow such owner to remove its own wreck is, to say the least, irresponsible. But in the end the wreck was refloated and towed to Genoa July 2014. The system how to re-float the wreck was modified in the last minute. If the sponsons start to leak, the wreck will sink again at Genoa. If the wreck can be scrapped at Genoa is not certain. The cost $1.5 billion to remove the wreck from Isola del Giglio is evidently excessive and should not be paid by insurance. Insurance was not valid.


  

1. M/S Costa Concordia is back at Genoa July 2014 - how did the wreck arrive there?

This Heiwa Co web page (Part 11 of the Costa Concordia article and continuously updated) explains in simple terms (i) the 30 months stay (January 2012 - July 2014) of the wreck on the rocky bottom, (ii) the September 2013 uprighting, (iii) the July 2014 lift off and re-floating original and modified operations of the seriously damaged wreck, so that 12 meters of deck house full of stinking, rotten shit becomes visible above water, (iv) the towing away, (v) the future scrapping and (vi) the possible re-sinking of the M/S Costa Concordia wreck owned by Costa Crociere S.p.a, Genova, Italy. Yes, you read correctly - re-sinking! Many visitors are guided to this page by various search engines, but you are highly recommended to start reading the introduction/summary of my Costa Concordia article because the whole story, not just the wreck removal story, is a scandal that goes on and on. The ship was never seaworthy and safe and the incidents were just bound to happen, like they will happen to many similar ships as safety at sea is getting worse all the time, like this one 2 November 2014.

Wreck of always not seaworthy and unsafe M/S Costa Concordia at Genoa Voltri container port 28 July 2014. Evidently the wreck cannot be scrapped there and many persons wonder what will happen now. Two months later nothing had really happened. On 18 0ctober the removing of furniture and fittings in the deck house above water started ... and a dead/missing crew member that had been trapped there when the ship capsized 14 January, 2012, was found. It is suggested ~15 000 tons of fittings/furniture will be removed in six months. Then the water filled wreck will be towed away somewhere else

On 27 July 2014 the water filled and damaged wreck of M/S Costa Concordia with sponsons attached arrived at the Genoa Voltri container port and moored in a corner behind a jetty. The draught is 18 meters! It may still sink there, though! Reason is that the water filled wreck is floating assisted only by the sponsons relying on compressed air supplied by compressors at the top of the sponson to push out the water through an opening hopefully with a valve in the bottom. If a valve of the sponson leaks and the compressed air escapes and water enters the sponson, the wreck will sink. It would have been much better and safer to use pontoons to keep the wreck floating.


Media, which have not covered the incidents properly since January 2012, reported more nonsense as usual, e.g: 

"The ship (sic) was moored at a port in Genoa last month after the biggest maritime salvage (sic) operation in history."

Actually no ship has been salvaged. A water filled wreck of little value was only removed from one place to another and we haven't seen the end of the drama yet. I wonder why media always report incorrectly. In the meantime the wreck has become a tourist attraction at Genoa to be looked at from the outside only. It cannot possibly be scrapped at its current, temporary, unsafe location, so maybe one day it will be towed out to sea and sunk again? Re-sinking! To save money. I explain how below. Antonio Benvenuti, the head of Genoa's harbour workers' union, told AP that there was no "precise schedule" for each stage of dealing with the wreck. But who cares? Insurances? They pay gladly and are part of the fraud. And media have stopped reporting about the impossible scrapping since 28 July 2014. Not a word! There is not one company or person at Genoa capable of scrapping the water filled wreck! On the other hand the Genoa port authority has 18 October 2014 declared that the water filled wreck kept floating by sponsons is "safe" and that demolition can start by emptying the deck house by removing say ~15 000 tons of furniture and fittings (it is a lot!) in it above water at the present location. A little crane has been installed in the swimming pool midship for this big job that will take six months apparently assisted by barges. Hm - can you really remove 100 tons/day? The water filled wreck will then float at ~15 meters draught and shall be towed (!) to another location to be placed in a dry dock to be cut up, etc. Total demolition/scrapping will take 22 months and be completed August 2016 we are told. I evidently do not believe it. Scrapping a ship in a dry-dock?!? Maybe re-sinking will take place during the second tow spring 2015?

Added to a $500m+ hull insurance claim the Costa Concordia wreck removal is definitely set to cost the re/insurance market very close to $2 billion. It is by no means guaranteed that there won’t be some further loss creep (although not too much more can be expected), which could take the final bill over the $2 billion mark, at which point there is a possibility that some additional instruments which are based on a loss trigger could come into play.

As the Constructive Total Loss, CTL, of the ship was of the order $500+ million, the removal of the wreck from Isola del Giglio seems to have cost almost $1.5 billion so far. But (re)insurers seem to pay, even if they should not. The ship was not seaworthy and the insurance was not valid.

It was a substandard, unsafe and not seaworthy ship and the shipowner, Carnival Corp. p.l.c., knew it.

It is really sad. An accident took place at sea and a ship capsized and sank the next day killing people but in lieu of a proper accident investigation to find out what really happened in order to improve safety at sea, it was immediately decided by concerned parties - a conspiracy! - that all was the fault of the unlucky Master alone ... and that everything else was in perfect order including the ship owner. False accident investigations reports were produced and a show trial of the Master initiated to protect the real culprits. In the meantime the incompetent ship owner was permitted to attempt removal of the wreck and another disaster could have been produced. The drama is still going on. And safety at sea is worse than ever.

Source: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/thumb/msid-39156491,width-640,resizemode-4/wrecked-costa-concordia-arrives-in-genoa-to-be-scrapped.jpg

Wreck of always not seaworthy and unsafe Costa Concordia at Genoa 28 July 2014. If the wreck really can be scrapped there remains to be seen. Maybe it will be abandoned in this remote corner of the port of Genoa Voltri? You should wonder, if the wreck is insured against sinking (again) and blocking the port, and what port authority accepted the risk. The whole thing looks unsafe!

 

  

2. Definitions

In order to assist the reader to understand the basics of wreck removal some definitions of words used in this article are given:

  • Buoyancy: force to keep an object, e.g. a ship, floating*. This force is a function of the submerged volume of the object. A not submerged part of the object does not produce buoyancy, e.g. only the submerged part of a sponson produces buoyancy.
  • Business: see salvage company.
  • Capsize: floating ship losing stability, e.g. due to free water in the hull, and heeling so down flooding occurs.
  • Collision: ship striking another ship or floating object.
  • Contact: ship touching some fixed object causing structural damage to the hull, superstructure and/or deck house.
  • Deck house: part of a ship above its hull or superstructure, which is neither watertight nor weather tight, i.e. the openings are protected only to prevent wind, rain and water spray to enter.*
  • Double bottom: bottom of passenger ships normally consists of an outer shell and an inner watertight deck to form a double bottom as protection against grounding, i.e. outer shell may be damaged, while, hopefully, the inner deck/bottom remains tight in order to reduce up flooding to double bottom only.
  • Down flooding: the filling of water of an intact hull compartment from above, e.g. when the top of the compartment is below water due to excessive heeling, e.g. after the capsize of the ship.
  • Floating: see buoyancy.
  • Grounding: ship's bottom striking and getting stuck on the bottom of the sea. A grounded ship with double bottom cannot really sink. It remains upright on the ground.
  • Hull: watertight part of a ship providing buoyancy on which it's mass is floating according to the principle of Archimedes.
  • Lift off: when sufficient buoyancy is added to a sunken wreck, so it floats again just above the sea floor. In order to re-float Costa Concordia you must plan for it.
  • Muster station: defined location aboard a ship where passengers gather to abandon ship. Each passenger, staff and crew member is allocated a muster station. Appointed crew will escort passengers/staff from the muster station to lifeboats and life rafts.
  • Pontoon; simple box shaped ship consisting only of tanks and a pump that provides buoyancy.
  • Progressive flooding; the filling of water of an intact hull compartment from an adjacent, up flooded compartment, via, e.g. an open, watertight door.
  • Removal: any form of prevention, mitigation or elimination of the hazards created by a wreck.
  • Re-sinking: the sinking of a wreck and marine crime scene aboard a never seaworthy ship to prevent improving safety at sea.
  • Salvage: the saving of property from loss, e.g. a wrecked ship.
  • Salvage company/salvor: one whose business is to bring wrecked ships to port or raise valuables from a ship that has sunk, etc.
  • Seaworthy: A seaworthy ship provides its crew and passengers a safe place to work and live and is equipped with appropriate safety gear and equipment, safe recreation facilities and a competent and trained crew. M/S Costa Concordia was evidently not seaworthy 13 January, 2012, and it was just a matter of time when something went wrong killing people.
  • Scuttle: making holes in or open valves of a ship in order to sink it. You cannot scuttle a wreck!
  • Sinking of ship or marine crime scene: when the force of the ship's/scene's mass exceeds its buoyancy, e.g. due to up flooding, progressive flooding and down flooding, the vessel sinks and becomes a sunken wreck.
  • Sponson: external tank or caisson with a valve in the bottom attached, submerged below water, to, e.g. a wreck to produce buoyancy, when filled with compressed air. The water is forced out through the valve in the bottom. 
  • Stranded ship: a not sunken (intact hull) ship subject to grounding and unable to get away without outside assistance is regarded as a stranded ship.
  • Superstructure: weather tight part of a ship above its hull, i.e. the openings are protected to prevent green water to enter.
  • Up flooding: the filling of water of a hull compartment from below through, e.g. a hull leakage due to a stupid contact or grounding.
  • Watertight: made so that water cannot get in or out.
  • Wreck: a sunken or stranded ship.

(*The Swedish Maritime Authority, Sjöfartsverket, believes that all deck houses are watertight and that a ship like M/S Estonia floats on the deck house. Same authority also believes it is normal practice that passengers jump into the sea and swim ashore when their ship sinks.)

 

 

3. Background - no answers 14 April 2014 - just stupid excuses

The ship owner, today the past (wreck was apparently sold or given away (sic) July 2014 at Genoa) wreck owner, Costa Crociere S.p.a., Genova, Italy, of the never seaworthy, always 2006-2012, dangerous ship M/S Costa Concordia that sank 14 January 2012 outside Isola del Giglio, suggested after the sinking that the wreck was to be re-floated and towed away May 2013 full of water at 18 meters draught at a certain cost. Repairs of the wreck were possible, we were told. All is explained and analyzed below. The wreck owner February 2012 invited companies that were thought to be capable of performing the removal work, i.e. removing the intact wreck in the shortest period of time while also ensuring maximum safety and minimum environmental impact. We were told February 2012 that it would take 10 months and cost $300 million. In the end it has cost $1.5 billion ... and the wreck is still full of water and can sink again any moment.

The Salvors appointed by the wreck owner informed May 2012 that >400 persons were going to work 24/24, 7/7, to remove the wreck - video. It was not true. There were very bad management, delays, people were doing nothing, alleged bad weather was not planned for, various excuses were presented, incompetence was rampant, suddenly most workers disappeared for many months, etc, so the re-floating date was changed to July 2014. Just 14 months late! And when the cost skyrocketed to >$1.000 millions, media stopped reporting. And no guarantees were presented to show that any outstanding work really could be accomplished. You wonder where the money is gone. Not to the habitants of Isola del Giglio that complain bitterly that the wreck has destroyed the tourist business and ambiance of the island.

Is Costa CEO and wreck owner Michael Thamm thinking of re-sinking his stinking wreck?

The wreck had during three winters and many storms been damaged so it, probably, could not be refloated without risk The environment is damaged - 20 000 tons of cement has been poured on the sea floor - the coral reefs have been crushed and one diver has died as safety could not be maintained. But work continued.

Nobody, including the wreck owner, bothered for two years to investigate how to and where to scrap the wreck that is, at 18 meters draught after re-floating ... full of water. Isn't it silly? The wreck owner said that the wreck will be re-floated but didn't not know what to do with it afterwards except that it shall not be repaired (a decision taken 2013). Costa CEO Thamm has informed that the decision where to scrap the wreck will be taken in 'complete transparency', but no decision is taken. On 26 March 2014 it was announced that the public was to be told "next week".

Answers were in fact supposed to be given Monday, 14 April 2014, 16.00 hrs at the Hotel Saraceno, Giglio Porto (not Wednesday, 9 April as first advised). Then the Commissioner for the emergency of the M/S Costa Concordia, prefect Franco Gabrielli, together with the mayor Sergio Ortelli and the president of the Observers on the work of removal Maria Sargentini met the population of Isola del Giglio to inform and to answer all questions about the progress of the removal activities of the ship M/S Costa Concordia like: 1. What date will Salvors T/M start fitting the missing 19 sponsons? 2. What date will all preparation work be finished, so that re-floating can start? 3. Are you certain that the wreck after capsize, sinking, up-righting and spending three winters on the rocky bottom is strong enough to be re-floated? 4. Where will the wreck be towed after re-floating by what tow company?


The meeting took place and ...
no answers were given. Only the usual nonsense was repeated - 19 sponsons will be fitted subject to authorization by competent authorities, the first ones before the end of April 2014, the final destination of the wreck will be decided later, blah, blah. It was confirmation that wreck owner, Salvors and authorities haven't got a clue what they are doing since 14 January 2012 about M/S Costa Concordia, apart from blaming everything on the Master and just producing lies trumpeted by mainstream media as truths. Later the wreck owner has indicated that the wreck, after re-floating, will be towed by the Salvors to Genova but no details have been provided, e.g. if the Salvors are capable to organize the towage! There is no 'complete transparency'.

On May 13, 2014, US magazine Scientific American reported, confusingly as usual: 

"The Concordia is resting safely on massive underwater platforms on the seabed and kept upright by a series of chains, pulleys and caissons on the ship's port side."

Actually only 20% of the port, flat bottom is resting on some underwater platforms, maybe. We do not know, if the platforms are aligned. And only 10% of the starboard, flat bottom is resting on two sharp rock outreaches PF and PA that have cut the flat bottom open forward and aft. The rest, incl. the fore ship, is not resting on anything! It can fall off any time! The wreck may break into three parts at re-floating. At present the wreck is secured to the shore and held together by 22 chains fitted on the port (outer) side and running below the wreck. These chains will be disconnected and used to secure the starboard sponsons #S7-11 12 meters below the water surface. When it is done nothing secures the wreck to the shore. The wreck must then be pushed against the rocky shore by tugs until re-floating.

On May 30, 2014, the Salvors told media that the project was 86.3% finished (sic). How to finish the 13.7% is explained below and the 86.3% already done is reported further down. In September 2014 the job was still not finished. The wreck was 18 meters draught full of water at Genoa where it can sink again at any moment.

 

 

4. Re-sinking

The inhabitants of Isola del Giglio and the rest of us were thus not, mid -April 2014, told the real situation. It seems difficult to provide detailed answers to simple, stupid questions. I am personally just curious to find out that the damaged wreck does not break apart at lift off and, if the final decision may be re-sinking? Is the wreck owner thinking about re-sinking? Why scrap when you can re-sink it again? And what competent authority will check and approve anything? On 18 June the mayor of Isola del Giglio wrote a letter to Costa asking for clarifications. I did not expect any reply! Costa does not know!

Re-sinking of the re-floated M/S Costa Concordia wreck is easy - just fill the sponsons with water, when wreck is in deep water (say >100 meters) after re-floating and then sinking follows. It is similar to scuttling a ship.

If you google "costa concordia re-sinking" you'll get, like me when I tried, about 1 920 000 results in 0.37 seconds. Of course this page is #1 on Google about re-sinking. The other 1 919 999 hits had nothing at all about re-sinking, so you wonder why Google links to them. Re-sinking is the cheapest solution, when you realize that there is no port to receive the wreck for scrapping.

A spectacular re-sinking after lift off and moving the wreck to deep water is just to fill the sponsons on one side: the wreck will then roll over on that side and sink. Maybe the wreck breaks apart in the process and it will be a great show?

Where/when will the re-sinking take place to end the Costa Concordia fiasco? Easiest location is 300 meters East of present position off Isola del Giglio after lift off July 2014 before re-floating. Another possibility is where the Tyrrhenian Sea is >3 000 meters deep sometimes 2015. The latter will not be spectacular. The visible 25 meters top of the deck house of the re-floated wreck will just quietly disappear below water with nobody looking on. But you save money! Plenty ports in Italy and worldwide have informed they will scrap Costa Concordia but it will cost 200-300 millions. Thus cheaper to re-sink! But then Costa loses its 20% commission. So the biz will go on. Until it fails! We were first to see what happened July, 2014. The wreck was actually re-floated and towed to Genoa. Plenty people are interested in the developments of the removal of the wreck from Isola del Giglio, so let's start with them.

 

 

5. Preparations for Lift off

Before re-sinking happens, 15 starboard #S1-15 and four port #P1-2 and #P14-15 pre-fabricated sponsons shall be attached to the wreck, so it can first lift off from the sea bed and then be re-floated 12 meters and finally towed away - all explained here and summarized below:

11 sponsons #P3-13 are already welded to the port side of the wreck 2013.

If the seriously structurally damaged wreck can actually be re-floated is not certain. You have to apply plenty (about 51.000 m3) buoyancy forces to the wreck to re-float and that buoyancy is not yet in place. 29 March - 20 April winches and fairleads were fitted on the wreck for the sponson barges, i.e. the sponsons will arrive by barges and then using a big floating crane dropped into the water to be attached to the wreck. The 19 sponsons were ready for transport to Isola del Giglio 20 April. There are 13 tugs, supply and work boats with 71 crew members sailing around the wreck from dawn to dusk. At night nothing happens. Only 171 persons did salvage work then with more arriving. You can see it here.

Each of the 19 missing (61%) sponsons (simple steel boxes) shall be transported upright on a barge from Livorno (Leghorn) to Isola del Giglio, via Marina di Carrara for final outfitting (fitting of compressed air filling valves, water discharge valves, sounding system) starting 20 April, 2014, and lifted off, dropped down below water and moored with chains along the wreck. On location the 19 sponsons shall be submerged below water (zero buoyancy) and attached with total 56 chains one way or another to the side of the wreck. 22 of the chains are presently used to pull the wreck to the shore, while 34 chains are already connected on the port side and ready to be hooked up to the sponsons on the starboard side.

The port side (right on picture above) sponsons were fitted on the wreck by welding prior up righting September 2013 and are now fully below water. April-June 2014 15 other sponsons shall be attached to the starboard side below water by wires and chains. To re-float the wreck the 30 sponsons will be filled with compressed air (water inside is pushed out) and the wreck will lift off from rocks and platforms and rise or re-float about 12 meters ... and float at green waterline shown above. This might happen July 2014 (or September according to the mayor of Giglio). One (my) concern is that the damaged wreck breaks into three parts in the process and the buoyancy system becomes inoperative

 

 

6. The situation is under full control - competent Italian authorities check everything including the sophisticated automatic system

 

The work to attach the 15 starboard sponsons #S1-15 and four port sponsons #P1, 2, 14, 15 on the wreck underwater was supposed to last 57 days between 25 April and 20 June, 2014, starting on 26 April with sponson #S13 of course subject to authorization by competent authorities!

A typical #S4-12 sponson (right) is 18 meters deep and shall be attached to the wreck's side with its top 12 meters below water.

The starboard sponson #S13 was first attached to the wreck hull end April using a sophisticated automatic system that I am not aware of. Each sponson has its own air filling, water discharge and sounding systems with remote controlled valves and it is assumed it is used at installation. It is suggested that the chains attached on the other, port side below sponson #P13 running below the hull bottom were used but they are obstructed by two small platforms supporting the wreck bottom. But maybe the two platforms were not really supporting anything or fitted with a wooden lining to allow the chains to pass between wreck and platforms? It would be interesting to see some underwater photos of the attachements and the chains below the bottom of the wreck but none are publically available.

After alleged installation of sponson #S13 (or its disappearance below water) sponson #S12 was supposed to be installed 29 April, 2014. However the competent authority postponed all further sponson installation work 30 April requiring more info about what would happen, when contaminated water in the wreck flows out at lift off and more details about towage and scrapping. You should wonder why this information had not been provided earlier. The latest delay will surely further damage Italy’s maritime reputation internationally. Anyway, the problem was apparently quickly sorted out.

On 1 May the work to install sponson #S12 resumed apparently using the sophisticated automatic attachment system, when the submerged sponson is simultaneously filled with some compressed air, so it floats a little and not sinks with the top well below water. It is strongly recommended to completely fill each sponson with air to test the chain connections at full load ... and then to part empty it again.

Mid-May we were told that sponson #S13 had been damaged when fully filled with air to test the chain connections - a chain slipped off or something - and that #S13 had to be removed again, put on a barge and shipped off to Genova for repairs. What a mess!

By 10 June 2014 seven sponsons were not yet fitted, i.e. six end sponsons and #S3. Early morning 14 June sponson #S3 was positioned but still floating beside the wreck 48 hours later. It seems difficult and time consuming to attach the submerged sponsons underwater. The tops of 11 starboard sponsons at midlength shall be 12 meters below water, the tops of the 8 end sponsons shall be just above water all the time - and the chains must be adjusted accordingly.

 

On 12 June sponsons #S1-13 were in place but not submerged the 12 meters required for re-floating to achieve 18 meters draught after lift off. Their tops were just a few meters below water. The chains are apparently used to secure the wreck to shore.

The work of the competent authorities can be studied here . It is clear that the competent authority lacks technical expertise to judge the feasibility of the crazy re-floating system and that a total review has never been done.

It is a pity that no webcams are installed underwater so we can follow the work. A big Dutch crane barge "CONQUEST MB1" (left) is used. It can lift 1 800 tons. But what happens below water, nobody knows. How can the competent authority decide anything without knowing what happens below water?

 

 

7. The tall bow and stern sponsons

The sponsons #S1 and #S2 arrived at the wreck 18 June, 2014

Four tall sponsons, #P1 and #P2 on port side and #S1 and #S2 on starboard side, each apparently 30 meters high, and say 10 meters wide and 10 meters long are going to be attached to the sides of the loose fore ship in June/July 2014 0-30 meters underwater(!).

The tall boxes will be >98% submerged and pushed against the wreck ... and attached at the bottom to the 'blister' below via hooks and bolts. And how connect the sponson top above water to the bow? By wires! If you lose a bow sponson, it will sink to 60 meters depth.

The #S1 and #S2 sponsons arrived on a barge at the wreck on 18 June (left) and #S2 was lifted off and the barge didn't trim at all! Strange. #S2 was then dropped into the sea at the wreck floating with >7 meters freeboard ... and left floating like that the next days, i.e. it was not fully submerged and connected to the 'blister'.


Starboard sponsons #S4-S12 were installed by 6 June but floating with their tops in the waterline. They must be submerged another 12 meters to enable proper re-floating.

On 20 June #S1 was lowered into the water beside the not yet properly attached #S2. Maybe the fore ship is twisted and the sponsons cannot be submerged and trimmed to fit? Anyway, any sponson buoyancy i.e. volume above water cannot be used for lift off and re-floating! And it looks like all starboard sponsons #S1 -15 were 23 June, 2014, not submerged and attached correctly but only moored to the side. The 56 chains to secure the sponsons below water are not adjusted and there is plenty work remaining.

The Salvors suggest 22 June that all starboard sponsons are correctly installed, though.

The port stern sponsons #P14/#P15 will apparently be hooked up to some brackets welded to the side when it was above water. The starboard stern sponsons #S14/#S15 (left) were connected with chains below the keel 6-9 June but not fully submerged. The tops high above water are secured to the wreck by wires.

At completion of all sponson installation works incl. adjusting the chains - now re-scheduled for 20 July - the sponsons or rather the 56 chains are ready to transmit more buoyancy force to the wreck for lift off. Just fill the sponsons with compressed air and push the inside water out. The complete air filling, water discharge and sounding systems with valves must then have been tested and be shown working for each sponson. In the end the sponsons #S4-S12 were never submerged as originally planned. They were left floating in the waterline and by pulling in the chains the wreck was re-floated. The forward/aft sponsons shall also be used as towing connections and must be very strongly attached to the wreck. It would appear that the wreck fore ship is loose and badly attached to the rest of the wreck (see below) so it may drop off at lift off.

 

 

8. Lift off

Let's assume that 300 m3 compressed air at >2.5 bar can be filled per hour in the very complex 30 sponsons and the blister buoyancy system created by the Salvors. Let's assume that all recently fitted sponsons #S3-S12, S18 are correctly positioned with their tops 12 meters and bottoms 30 meters below water, so you can float up the wreck 12 meters to achieve 18 meters draught (blue waterline). If the top of the starboard sponsons is only in the pre-re-floating (green) waterline, you can only float up the wreck a little - less than 0.5 meter - and that is not sufficient, unless you only want to shift the wreck into deeper water for re-sinking

The compressed air arrives at the top of the sponson and the water inside the sponson is forced out through the bottom of the sponson and buoyancy is created and applied to the wreck. Maximum air pressure is required just prior Lift off, when the sponson is almost empty at 30 meters draught.

Before lift off the damaged wreck rests on the sea bed (platforms and hard rocks) in one piece. After about 47 000 m3 buoyancy or 47 000 tons (if it is the submerged mass of the wreck?) is uniformly applied >12 meters underwater directly to the wreck by the 30 sponsons and the blister with air at ~2.5 bar pressure inside say July 2014 (it will take 157 hours or 6.5 days, if you start from scratch, but evidently you start early and keep the sponsons part filled) the wreck will thus lift off from ground at 29.99 meters draught - the water filled and damaged wreck floats again for the first time after two and a half years on the rocky bottom! - and must be kept in place by plenty strong tugs forward/aft/middle not to drift away or slip off or up on land, unless it breaks into pieces of course. The total mass of wreck and water inside it may be >220.000 tons! The tugs will apparently connect to the tops of the end sponsons that are above water all the time. These sponsons are in turn connected by wires to the deck house.

The buoyancy must be uniformly applied forward/aft/port/starboard. If you apply buoyancy only at, e.g. the aft end, it will of course float up, but the forward end will drop down and the wreck may move forward and drop down into the ocean.

47 000 tons of force is now applied to the wreck structure by 15 sponsons port, 15 sponsons starboard and the blister via the welded sponson connections port and via the 56 chains attached to the starboard sponsons and in touch with the hull bilge plate/structure. Hopefully the chains will not slice the starboard bilge plate structure! Each of the 56 point loads/forces on the thin, 12 mm bilge plate is more than 400 tonnes!! A sponson applies on average 1 500 tons of force on the wreck. It is a big force! Before all contact forces were applied on the wreck's flat bottom by the fixed supports of platforms and rocks on the sea bed. Now the forces are applied in the port, vertical side and at the starboard bilge and the floating wreck will heel and trim, if the buoyancy forces are applied asymmetrically. You must therefore adjust the forces accordingly. If the buoyancy forces of the 30 sponsons are not perfectly applied, the wreck will trim and heel and apply bending moment and shear forces to the damaged wreck and contact forces at rocks and platforms.

Another difference now is that the wreck may deform freely due to lack of fixed supports of the platforms/rocks and the structure may crack. If there is a hull fracture due to deformations and/or the forces being applied differently, it develops very fast and will be heard as a big bang. The damaged, floating wreck may break apart any time and it goes quickly.

Lift off of a damaged wreck using the Salvors underwater buoyancy system is a very dangerous business. Any person remaining on the wreck during lift off is at risk. The competent authorities are kindly requested to consider it.

You can now tow the wreck away at 29.99 meters draught. There are rumours that the wreck owner and the Salvors intend to do just that. As soon as the wreck is floating a little, the tugs will move it away. Are they planning an early re-sinking?

If you Google "costa concordia lift off", you will get 64 900 results in 0.28 seconds with this page as #1. There are no references to Salvors' or competent authorities' web sites.

 

 

9. Re-floating ... may go very fast ... and is a very dangerous business

After lift off, hopefully in front of not very intelligent Main Stream Media, MSM, ashore so we can be told what happens in their restricted view, the wreck will be floating at <29.99 meters draught. Of course you cannot see it, but crazy persons, if any, aboard may feel it. MSM should send a volunteer aboard to report! Waves and currents will immediately affect the floating wreck that can now be towed away from Isola del Giglio for further action away from MSM, if suitable towage tugs are available, but hopefully the wreck will remain in sight, held in location by tugs (and mooring to shore?) and not suddenly just sink and disappear or whatever! Anything may happen now.

By applying, extremely carefully now, about another 4 000 m3 buoyancy or compressed air in the 30 underwater sponsons >12 meters below water, which corresponds to the buoyancy of 12 meters of top deck house still below water, to force out 4 000 tons of water from the sponsons, the wreck will re-float or float up 12 meters, hopefully without trimming and heeling too much, and arrive at 18 meters draught even trim/heel and all the contaminated water in that part - ~100.000 tons will flow out. It will take another 13 hours, if you fill air at rate 300 m3/hour, but it may go much, much faster - a couple of minutes! - as the air expands by itself, when external sea water pressure at the bottom of the sponson is reduced, when it floats up. The tops of starboard sponsons #S3-13 must be 12 meters below water at the beginning of this stage. At the end of the re-floating the tops of the fully submerged sponsons will be just above water. Imagine that applying only on average 130 tons of extra buoyancy to each sponson, the whole rusty, dirty, stinking wreck deck house full of rotten furniture and carpets will rise another 12 meters above water. But if the buoyancy is applied incorrectly, only one end may re-float up and the wreck may trim 12 meters ... or more ... with the other end still on the rocks! Re-floating is a very dangerous business. In the end the sponsons #S4-S14 were never submerged 12 meters but were left floating in the waterline. Re-floating of the wreck was completed by pulling in the chains. It was evidently much safer and simpler and could have been accomplished much faster using normal pontoons.

51 000 tons of buoyancy forces are now applied to the damaged but floating wreck. The compressed air pressure in the sponsons is reduced to ~1.7 bar at the end. Maybe the submerged mass of the floating wreck is less than 51.000 tons and then lift off and re-floating will require a little less air in the sponsons. The total mass of wreck and contaminated water inside may be >120.000 tons.

MSM have suggested that the wreck was re-floated already 16 September, 2013, but they misunderstood as usual. Then the wreck was just up-righted into deeper water and filled with more water and structurally damaged so it couldn't be re-floated later without great risks.

 

 

10. The towage - and further risks of breaking apart - answers 16 June ... sorry 25 or 26 June!

After re-floating, if you are lucky hopefully the wreck with its stinking deck house full of rotten shit remains with even trim and heel and does not break into three pieces, the wreck owner shall now arrange towage of the wreck (about 51.000 tons submerged mass) and the remaining water inside (about 70 000 tons) away to somewhere, where the wreck can be disposed. You cannot anchor the floating wreck as there are no anchors. You can probably moor it somewhere but then you need a jetty with 18 meters depth ... and where do you find it? Genova Voltri? If any air or isolation valve jams, you may lose control of the whole thing. The tow must not be imprudent or unsafe. And you have to act fast! If waves >2 meters high occur, the wreck may break apart due to wave induced bending moments!

The wreck owner must find a towage company that is prepared to keep a mass of >220.000 tons in location during re-floating and to tow >120.000 tons of water filled wreck somewhere. I wonder what towage company is prepared to handle a wreck full of water with a stinking deck house full of rotten shit above water and under what conditions. Nobody can evidently enter the stinking deck house and apply tow lines, etc. The main tow lines will thus be connected to the tops of sponsons #S1 and #P1 at the fore ship that in turn are connected by wires to the deck house. One little problem is that the whole fore ship can drop off at any time due to cracks in the hull. So the wreck may be towed at the stern and connected to sponsons #S15 and #P15 at the aft end that in turn are connected by wires to the deck house. But also the aft end may drop off! It is damaged both port and starboard, i.w.o. the engine rooms!

My experience of towage is limited. Once we towed a damaged ferry with displacement/mass about 5 000 tons from Marseille to Port Said and another time an empty hull, also about 5 000 tons, from Nikolaev to Genova. Boths ships were about 120 meters long. We used in each case a big tug with bollard pull 70-100 tons. And in each case the tug master had very specific ideas how to attach the tow wire(s) to the ship and what fairleads to use, etc. It was interesting and fun. In this case the mass of the water filled wreck to tow is >120 000 tons. I assume you need a couple of 200 tons bollard pull tugs ... and where to find those? And how to connect the tow wires?

If all goes according to plans (that change all the time) 16 June 2014 we will know what towage company/tugs are chosen and to what port the wreck shall be towed to, as now the Italian government itself is directing the show! Sorry ... the Italian government has changed it to 25 or 26 June.

This propaganda picture shows M/S Costa Concordia after successful re-floating to 15.4 meters draught summer 2014 in order to be loaded on M/S Dockwise Vanguard (see below). If it is really possible to re-float the wreck is another matter. The green line is the waterline before re-floating - 30 meters of wreck is still below water resting on the rocks and some platforms and only six decks are above water. The blue line is the waterline with 18 meters draught. The deck house in between is full of rotten, stinking shit. If the wreck will ever reach this floating position, is the big question discussed below. The wreck side at sponson positions S3 and S13 is pushed in and damaged due contacts with sea floor. Bags of foam will be fitted between sponsons and wreck there ... for unclear reasons

The ship/wreck owner Costa is famous to blame others for everything, when things go wrong. As they say: "The ship/wreck owner is not responsible what happens aboard the ship/wreck ... it is indisputable that the Salvors are responsible for the wreck, the towage company for the tow, etc, etc". Maybe no towage company is prepared to assist? Media are getting more and more silent. They don't like to report fiascos. Insurance? They just pay ... when they should not.

There are plenty self-appointed experts of towage of the structurally damaged wreck, duration of towage and risks involved and all believe it is possible to tow the damaged wreck anywhere, e.g. that a one day tow to Piombino is the best and not deemed imprudent or unsafe.

Greenpeace - an NGO that says it protects the oceans had earlier suggested:

"Rome, March 10 - Greenpeace Italy on Monday called for the Costa Concordia wreck to be disposed of safely in a European port following the 1992 Basel Convention, which among other measures bans the export of hazardous naval waste from industrialized to non-industrialized nations."

Naval waste? Is the wreck suddenly naval waste? Greenpeace had been fooled by media to believe lies like:

"The Costa Concordia cruise liner hit rocks (sic) and partially (sic) capsized off the Tuscan island of Giglio in January 13 (sic), 2012, killing 32 out of the 4,229 people on board."

The Costa Concordia never hit any rocks and never partially capsized in January 13, 2012, killing nobody but simply, after an accidental contact January 13, suddenly capsized and sank on January 14, 2012, when 32 persons left aboard drowned. No hazardous, naval waste was produced in the process!

But Greenpeace has a point regarding the removal of the wreck:  

"It's absurd bet on the structural strength of the wreck of the Costa Concordia."

 I like that. Evidently the wreck is too damaged to be removed or towed anywhere.

Another idea is, however, disregarding any strength aspects, to tow the wreck full of water at 18 meters draught for five days to the container port at Genova Voltri and to cut off the deck house above the blue waterline there and put the pieces on the jetty and ship them off. It is maybe possible if cranes and space are available. The wreck will then float at draught 10 meters. You can then continue emptying the hull from above and reduce the draught to <8 meters and finally bring the wreck - beam ~55 meters with sponsons - to a dock nearby and cut up the hull. Cost? 200 million. To avoid that cost re-sinking is much cheaper.

 

 

11. What really happened 14 - 23 July 2014

The Salvors informed around 11 July a preliminary program as follows:

14 July - lift off

According Salvors T/M Phase 1 of the operations will last about 6 hours, during which the traffic around the wreck is suspended. The first phase is actually in three parts. First is a lift off of the wreck from the rocks and platforms followed, second, by a 2 feet upwards lift of the wreck from the rocks and platforms followed, third, by moving the water filled floating wreck with the aid of tugs about 30 meters eastwards.

For lift off you need about 47 000 m3 compressed air in the caissons and it cannot be filled in say 6 hours. The air filling of the caissons may therefore have started already today 11 July, if lift off takes place 14 July as announced.

The starboard caissons are not in their final positions. They are floating in the waterline with their bottoms at 20 meters depth and need only <2 bar compressed air to be emptied completely. The bottom of the port caissons are at 30 meters depth and must be filled with air at ~3 bar to eject all water.

You need about 200 m3 extra compressed air for an upwards lift of 2 feet and it can be filled quickly.

15 and 16 July - miscellaneous work

According Salvors T/M Phase 2 of the operations is in two parts and will last about 2 days, during which the wreck is first anchored and held in position by anchor points fixed by tugs. Then, the second part of phase 2 is the final connections and tensioning of the chains and cables and the lowering in the final position of the starboard caissons below water.

There are 11 starboard caissons with about 20 000 m3 compressed air to finally connect, adjust and sink in position 12 meters below water. The starboard caissons were not fixed in the correct positions before lift off due to lack of space.

17 July - re-floating!

According Salvors T/M Phase 3 of the operations is the real re-floating, i.e. the filling by 4 000 m3 compressed air of and the expulsion of 4 000 tons of water from the caissons step by step, deck by deck until the wreck has lifted 12 meters - four decks in the deckhouse become visible - and reached 18 meters draught.

If you fill air at 300 m3/hour, complete refloating may take 12-14 hours, i.e. the wreck rises about 1 meter/hour.

During re-floating 100 000 m3 water inside the wreck deck house floats out into the sea.

18 July - departure

According Salvors T/M Phase 4 of the operations is that the tugs will be connected again and controls and rigging for the departure of the convoy shall start. At this stage, and for a period of about 4 hours, port traffic will be prohibited to allow the Salvors to perform the work safely.

That was the original program.

In reality the following happened (and you can watch it on webcam recordings here).

14 July the wreck was suddenly floating at 27.8 meters draught and was towed 30 meters eastward. Thus about about 47 000 m3 compressed air were in the caissons. Starboard caissons #S4-S12 were still floating with their tops in the waterline with chains attached, thus were not submerged 12 meters as suggested but partly empty providing buoyancy.

15 - 22 July the wreck was slowly re-floated from 27.8 meters draught to 18 meters draught. Starboard caissons #S4-S12 were always floating with their tops in the waterline like pontoons. In order to re-float the wreck one starboard caisson #S4-S12 at a time was ballasted so it sank a little, a crane on a barge adjusted the chains of the caisson and the caisson was then deballasted ... and the wreck's draught was reduced a little. During one week another about 4 000 m3 of buoyancy was applied to the wreck. At the end all starboard caissons #S4-S12 were still floating in the waterline with their bottoms at 18 meters draught - same as the wreck's. The original plan to submerge starboard caissons #S4-S12 12 meters and then fill them with air was not used. Salvors T/M realized that it would not work or was dangerous. Thus building 9 caissons that could be submerged was a waste of time and money. They could have been replaced by one simple pontoon.

23 July the wreck was re-floated at <18 meters draught and towed away.

 

 

12. About the possibility that the damaged wreck would remain at Isola del Giglio 2015 (9 April 2014 + 19 June 2014 + 31 July 2014)

My personal opinion is that the wreck owner, Salvors Titan/Micoperi, consultants, underwriters and supervising authorities really are incompetent and that a stupid, salvage method - applying buoyancy underwater (!) directly to the wreck - was chosen 2012 preparations of which have damaged the wreck 2013 underwater so much that lift off 2014 was risky. Why is that?

  • The vessel hull was seriously damaged, when the ship capsized and sank 14 January, 2012, and the wreck could then only be re-floated immediately using conventional means - pontoons - at a grand scale.
  • The wreck hull was further structurally damaged by wave forces and motions, when resting on the rocky bottom for 20 months until 16 September 2013, and became more difficult to re-float. You cannot leave a wreck on a rocky bottom for 20 months and believe it remains intact.
  • The wreck hull was further seriously locally structurally damaged, when parbuckled uprighted - an unconventional method never tested before. The structural deformations and fractures imposed on the hull by parbuckling then made later re-floating impossible, IMHO.
  • The upright wreck hull was evidently further damaged by wave forces and motions, i.e. the hull fractures grow, when resting on and grinding against rocks and platforms until today.
  • The hull structure is fragile and could not be left on the rocks in any position without being further damaged all the times.
  • No wreck that has spent three winters on a rocky, exposed shore has ever been salvaged or re-floated in order to be scrapped later. It is already scrap and scrapped.
  • No underwater pictures of the damaged hull and the fractures have ever been made public.
  • No condition reports of the hull after capsize and before/after parbuckling have ever been made public.
  • No underwater repair specifications of the hull fractures have ever been made public.
  • No details of the underwater repairs done, if any, are available.
  • No salvage or ship owner engineers are willing to answer any serious questions.
  • The Salvors think that by attaching a ballast system to the wreck and that by de-ballasting the sunken wreck, it will float up. The Salvors demonstrate clearly that they do not know anything about Archimedes.
  • The Salvors suggest April 2014 that salvage is >70% complete, when the wreck full of water is still on the rocks!
  • 19 June 2014 none of the starboard sponsons were attached in the final positions, so they could apply buoyancy >12 meters below water.
  • The fore ship/bow was found flipping up/down/sideways September 2013 after parbuckling and was thus loose due to structural failures and fractures in the hull and was secured by some strange cables/wires hold back arrangement November 2013 to shore. April 2014 the protection was removed.
  • To use the fore ship/bow as towing point is full of risks as it can drop off any time.
  • The systems to add buoyancy to the wreck underwater for lift off and re-float it to 18 meters draught cannot be fully controlled in view of the risk/certainty that the wreck breaks into three parts and the systems are damaged, etc.
  • I fear the wreck breaks apart already at lift off and becomes two or three wrecks!
  • If the wreck remains intact after re-floating in very calm weather, the risk is still there that it breaks apart due to wave induced bending during towage.
  • If any valve or sponson starts to leak, you will lose buoyancy and be in great trouble. There are thirty sponsons and plenty valves ... and no means to re-establish lost buoyancy.
  • Due to various risks nobody can be on the wreck during lift off and re-floating. All operations of valves must be remote.
  • Media do not report above. They only report all is the fault of the innocent Master.

Due to above my feelings and professional opinions based on 45+ years experience in the shipping world are that wreck/scrap owner, Salvors & Co are hiding the true situation that, e.g. lift off might be impossible and salvage might be abandoned summer 2014 unless it is prevented by the authorities in the last minute. It is a sad combination of corruption, incompetence and fraud - like the Grosseto show trial of the innocent Master.

I assume any serious engineer with strong analytical skills, with an ability to think independently and with a proactive working style, with excellent team-working skills and an ability to see and analyse problems from different perspectives, who was working with the removal project since 2012, has silently left and that only fools and poor sods worried about pay remain.

I was curious to learn if my predictions would become true. In the end the Salvors changed the re-float procedure - sponsons #S4-S12 were used as simple pontoons and the wreck was re-floated as suggested by me 2012. Had normal pontoons been used in the first place, the re-floating would have been done much quicker and cheaper.

However ...

 

 

13. "Maritime Casualty Response award" presented to the Salvors

The Salvors have already received due recognition for "the success in avoiding any additional damage to the wreck site during the parbuckling", etc. On February 27, 2014 we were told the following:  

TITAN Salvage was presented with the prestigious Maritime Casualty Response award during the Lloyd's List North American Maritime Awards ceremony and dinner, held in Houston last week. … The judges considered TITAN Salvage's actions that directly attributed to protecting the marine environment during the project, including the success in avoiding any additional damage to the wreck site during the parbuckling; the proactive steps taken to restore local flora and fauna; the partnership with the University of Rome to document the environmental, technical and engineering efforts, and more.

Also representing the salvor's company during the event was TITAN's Daniel Dolson, manager, marine operations, and Jimmy Nichols, commercial director, Americas; Crowley's Scott Craig, director, marine development and compliance; Joe Sohlberg, manager, marine compliance; Bren Wade, manager, marine compliance; Suz Michel, vice president, talent management; and Marine Response Alliance's (MRA) Samina Mahmood, manager. None of them understood or didn't care that the Costa Concordia wreck was still 30 meters below water and the efforts more than a year late. It was a free party! And the Lloyd's List judges had not studied this web page showing how the Salvors had damaged and destroyed the wreck and wreck site with various arrangements 2012-2014 on the sea floor (drilling big holes, building a 20 000 tons cement wall, etc, etc.) and that, evidently, the wreck still remains on the sea floor ... and that no actions to restore the local flora and fauna have been taken. No photos or videos of the seafloor below the wreck and the hull of the wreck itself have been made public. Why not present awards when the job is finished? It looks like becoming a fiasco.

 

 

14. Some people believe the Costa Concordia salvage job is already done (18 March 2014)

Mr Tim Donney, Global Head, Marine Risk Consulting, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS), the Allianz centre of expertise for large corporate and specialty insurance, thinks ahead (p. 20 of Allianz Shipping Review 2014):

The salvage of the Costa Concordia was (sic) the largest maritime salvage operation ever undertaken. It was (sic) an undertaking like we have never seen before (yes - we haven't seen it completed yet) and was (sic) a job very well done (sic). According to reports, total cost of the salvage of the Costa Concordia will probably exceed $2bn with the loss of the hull (value of the ship), the cost of wreck removal, third party P&I claims, oil spill containment costs and environmental damage assessments. Not to mention the deaths of passengers and those liabilities.

If the salvage job is very well done and the wreck removed remain to be seen starting June 2014. And as the ship was not seaworthy insurance was not valid and the total costs should be for the ship owner's account. If Allianz was underwriting Costa Concordia, it should not pay a cent.

Tim Donney

AGCS is a very generous insurer. Recently an Malaysian Airlines plane MH370 mysteriously disappeared in the Indian Ocean and before the plane wreck is even found/confirmed AGCS:

"have made initial payments" of an unspecified amount on so-called hull and liability policies that are part of "our contractual obligations where an aircraft is reported as missing."

Imagine that you can insure yourself against something going missing!

Actually nobody knows where the M/S Costa Concordia wreck will be towed after lift off, re-floating and removal. A decision will be made end March 2014 (see below) and reported here. The job is evidently just 30% finished. But insurance has already paid 120%. To the ship owner. Passengers and crew have got less. And the Master has got nothing! 

 

 

Photo: Anders Björkman at Isola del Giglio xxxxxxx

The wreck after capsize and sinking 14 January 2012 resting on two rocky coral reefs outreaches PF and PA 10-30 meters below water close to shore; deeper forward PF and shallower aft PA. By pure luck the wreck did not slide away into deeper water and ... disappeared completely. The starboard side of the hull was cut open forward at PF and aft at PA, when the wreck was sliding down on the sharp rocks. The ship capsized due to progressive flooding through illegal watertight doors producing loss of stability. The ship sank due to down flooding of intact hull compartments.

 

 

15. The capsized and sunken wreck 14 January 2012 - 16 September 2013

The M/S Costa Concordia was not seaworthy and capsized due to progressive flooding through illegal watertight doors reducing stability to zero 14 January 2012. The ship then sank due to down flooding of the hull and people drowned as there was not crew aboard to launch all lifeboats and life rafts and save the passengers as explained here.

In order to hide the fact that the ship was not seaworthy the ship owner immediately, assisted by mainstream media, accused the Master to have caused the shipwreck and killed people aboard and fired him. The Master was and is evidently innocent of any crimes associated with the alleged incidents. The guilty parties are still around. The ship never collided and never went aground.

The ship hull was first structurally damaged on the port aft side due to an accidental contact 13 January 2012. The starboard deck house side was later damaged, when it crashed against two rocky coral reef outreaches PF and PA of the sea floor about 150 meters apart outside Isola del Giglio due to the capsize the next day 14 January 2012. The starboard hull - side and bilge - was then damaged, when the ship sank and displaced down and away from shore on the coral reefs. Later until uprighting September 2013 the starboard deck house and hull were further structurally damaged due to ship motions from waves and wind. The starboard bilge structure was finally damaged due to great pressures applied to it at the uprighting. No pictures of the starboard underwater damages are available since 14 January 2012!

The wreck after capsize and sinking morning of 14 January 2012, when 32 persons drowned, was 15 September 2013 resting at 30 meters depth on two rocky coral reef outreaches PF and PA of the sea floor - see pictures above/below. The fore and aft ends and the midship part P were not resting on anything.

Small boats and tugs could pass between the wreck and the island and a diver could dive below the sunken wreck between PF and PA and wreck's starboard bilge P - it is quite deep there:

Source: http://www.uniroma1.it/sites/default/files/stato%20avanzamento_vl_30_08_finale.pdf

Six platforms had reportedly been positioned outside of the wreck April-September 2013. Holes have been drilled in the rocky bottom at ~40 meters depth and the platform legs stand in the holes. Nobody knows if the platforms were correctly installed, etc. There are no underwater photos, no documentation and so on publicly available.

 

 

16. The support of the submerged but up right wreck 17 September 2013

Two days later, 17 September 2013, the wreck had been rotated upright - parbuckled - on top of the sharp rocks at PF and PA away from shore and was, we were told, resting on the 6 newly installed platforms L1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 at 30 meters depth. There are no details how the wreck is really resting on the six platforms and on rocky PF and PA. I estimate only 15% of the wreck's flat bottom touches rocky PF and PA and the platforms. The rest is free of support ... and easy to inspect.

After parbuckling wreck's port midship ship landed on and became supported by the six platforms L1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 with sponson tanks outside. The starboard side is supported only at PF and PA. Wreck's starboard bilge at P rested on the grout bags located at >30 meters depth but flat bottom area between P and platforms is not supported. The bow forward of PF is not supported by anything except the blister tanks - the water below is 55-60 meters deep. Stern aft of PA is supported by small platform L6 but can drop off. The complete flat bottom is quite easy to examine for fractures, etc. To prevent wreck movements due external wave/wind forces 28 bracing beams have November 2013 been installed between sponson tanks P5-P11 and the platforms ; eight to platform L1, 12 to platform L2 and eight to platform L3. Also the bow has been secured someway.

 

How the upright wreck rests in contact with the sea floor and platforms is not clear. I would expect areas PF and PA to be compressed, buckled, fractured, ripped apart due to the parbuckling and that further fractures will develop when wind and waves move the wreck, making the whole wreck unsafe and maybe unsuitable for re-floating. The efficiency of platforms L1-6 is also uncertain. Maybe the wreck only rests on one or two platforms. We do not know! Or maybe one or two platforms collapsed due to being loaded and damaged the wreck above? It would be nice to see underwater photos showing areas PF and PA and the upright wreck on the platforms.

But there are no such photos!

We are also told that following the up righting at 30 meters depth, the wreck was surveyed to assess its overall condition, particularly the starboard side, which was previously submerged and inaccessible (sic).

Following this assessment, the engineers determined the structural repairs required to be done underwater ahead of the installation of the 15 sponsons on the starboard (inshore) side. The wreck hull was evidently damaged in the side, bilge and bottom at PF and PA during parbuckling and must be repaired underwater before re-floating. It is also possible that the hull bottom is damaged in contact with the platforms.

But no specifications of any underwater repairs have been made public!

We are told that the following world's top technical engineering experts are used to establish the repairs to be done underwater, etc: Ceccarelli Yacht Design, Studio Tecon of Milan, Spline of Venice, Overdick of Hamburg and the Dutch underwater solutions provider Disa International. There have also been contributions from consultants such as RINA (Italian Shipping Register), D'Appolonia and Rome's Università La Sapienza. If something goes wrong all these experts can blame each other.

There are thus no underwater pictures showing that the wreck's port bottom is really resting on all six platforms, i.e. all platforms were perfectly positioned. No underwater pictures of the hull, particularly the starboard bilge before and after up righting and no underwater repair specifications are available.

Why this secrecy?

What has really happened below water at areas PF and PA and around the wreck of M/S Costa Concordia?

Why do not media ask serious questions?

Re-floating of the uprighted wreck using external buoyancy tanks, sponsons, at draught 18 (or 8 LOL) meters is planned for June 2014!

 

 

17. Will the wreck really be re-floated June 2014? And will it cost another 300 million to scrap it? Where, how, is it possible?

The big questions 2014 are evidently - Can the damaged wreck resting on the bottom at 30 meters depth outside Isola del Giglio really be re-floated after being repaired under water? And where to tow it? And where to scrap it? And how to scrap it? It is still 18 meters below water.

Friday 10th January, 2014, at 11.00 am at the office of the Civil Protection headquarters in Rome, Italy, a press conference to present the next steps of the removal of M/S Costa Concordia wreck took place. Speakers, all Italian, at the conference were:

Andrea Orlando, Minister of the Environment, Franco Gabrielli, Deputy Commissioner of the Italian Government handling the emergency of M/S Costa Concordia, Michael Thamm, CEO , Costa Cruises and Franco Porcellacchia, Project Manager removal of the wreck, Costa Cruises.

Any journalist attending had been kindly requested to study below and above info about the salvage and to ask intelligent questions, e.g. can the damaged up righted wreck really be refloated without breaking into three parts?, what are the Salvors really doing below water just now?, why not fit the missing caissons right now? and is the bow really secure?

If you then Google for "latest costa concordia salvage news 2014" you'll find:

 

 

18. Costa Concordia Could Be Towed To A British Port - Decision end March 2014

Franco Porcellacchia:

"We will start fitting in the systems and equipment that are needed to enable us to remove the ship from mid-April. It is a very complicated operation."

Michael Thamm:

"We are very confident that we can remove this ship within the month of June. This is not very far away - and then a great job will be done. The company would maintain ownership of the vessel "until the very last moment", until the wreck is demolished later this year. The full cost of the completed salvage operation is expected to reach around 600m (£497m)".

and Costa Concordia could end up in UK as ports bid for wreckage or Shipwrecked Concordia to be removed in June .

Franco Gabrielli:

"A decision on the final destination of the Costa Concordia would be made by the end of March."

So end of March we will know where the wreck will be towed. But is it March 2014 or 2015?

The normal lies were repeated by ship owner and authorities at the press conference:

"... just days before the second anniversary of the ship's Jan. 13, 2012, grounding (sic) that killed 32 people."

Evidently M/S Costa Concordia did not run aground killing people and nobody died Jan. 13, 2012. The not seaworthy ship capsized Jan. 14, 2012, due to illegal watertight doors and 26 passengers and 6 crew aboard died as crew was missing to escort them from non-existing muster stations to the lifeboats as explained here.

No journalist asked the questions above suggested by me.

And no journalist asked if there really is a port in the world that can receive the wreck with sponsons with draught 18 meters, breadth 55 meters to recycle it.

 

 

19. The re-floated wreck will remain in Italy (and not towed to a British port)

On 13 January 2014 the Daily Mail informed that proposals for the demolition/scrapping after re-floating and towage is expected to take another 200 people two years to complete and that the estimated value of the demolition contract is more than 300 million. No details though how to scrap a ship underwater. Normally you sell ships for scrap and earn money. Here it seems the ship owner has to pay for scrapping and lose money. Or the insurance money? Re-sinking, on the other hand, does not cost anything.

On 15 February 2014 Repubblica reported that the wreck would be scrapped in Italy! But as there is no Italian scrap yard ready to do it, it seems the re-floated wreck will just be parked ... underwater ... somewhere, etc, etc.

So the Costa show will just go on. At any cost! It gets sillier and sillier.

 

 

20. The magic salvage show 2012-2014

Let's return to the situation prior up righting (sponson #P13 not yet fitted) with the structurally damaged wreck resting on the sea floor at the rocks of PF and PA:

 

The Forward starboard part/bilge of the wreck (deck house, superstructure, hull) was just resting on one shallow granite, coral reef outreach PF and the Aft part/bilge (deck house, superstructure, hull) on another shallow granite, coral reef outreach PA. The ends of the ship rested on nothing.

The midship part P was also not resting on the sea floor below. The depth of water between the side of the wreck and seafloor at the midship part P was maybe 6-16 meters. Underwater examination would probably confirm that the starboard stabilizer fin was still extended and intact! The stabilizer fin was apparently removed 28 meters underwater April 2014!

It means that the forward and aft hull, superstructure and deck house starboard side/bilge/bottom at PF and PA were contact damaged during and after the capsize, when the ship was sinking and sliding down on the rocks of the sloping sea floor away from shore, while the middle 0.4L side part was undamaged but details are uncertain as no underwater survey reports are available. A diver could swim below the wreck at P. There was no support of the wreck at P.

No underwater pictures of the hull were made available 2012 or the results of a detailed underwater survey of the wreck hull were not made available to the public 2012 or later. The condition of the starboard side, bilge and bottom structure is of course interesting.

 

 

21. Uprighting of the wreck 16 September 2013 - further structural damages to the hull

The uprighting of M/S Costa Concordia by parbuckling, described in detail below, started early 16 September 2013 at Isola del Giglio with 100's of media persons looking on and having a good time. Giglio Porto is a nice place. By applying external pull forces of total >7 000 tons on the top and bottom of the wreck midlength part i.w.o. tanks #P6-#P11 and aft, it was suggested that the wreck would slowly roll around its starboard bilge in contact at rocky PF and PA at 30 meters depth from resting on the damaged side at ~65° heel to starboard to a vertical upright position 0° heel still resting on the two rock outreaches PF and PA at starboard side and on six platforms installed on the sea floor on port side. The platforms also prevented the wreck from rolling further to port ... and to disappear completely.

When the wreck had rotated a few degrees upwards (at 10.00 hrs) great noise was heard and the wreck displaced down one meter ... the wreck's starboard bilge/hull internal and external structure, external hull plates, internal brackets, floors, girders, stiffeners, longitudinals and frames at PF and PA were compressed, fractured and ripped apart due to a ~50 000 tons force being applied to the bilge/hull in hard contact with the rocks ... and the salvage attempt was arrested for a while. And then the parbuckling started again. In order to reduce the force at PF and PA extra support in form of grouting/cement mattresses had been put at wreck's starboard bilge P.

The wreck didn't fracture completely at PF and PA and the ends did not drop off that I had feared.

During the evening (after sunset), after having been slowly uprighted ~20° to ~45° heel for several hours, the wreck quickly uprighted (0° heel) itself by gravity. The wreck's flat bottom then allegedly landed on the six platforms L1-6 fitted on port side at 30 meters depth! Maybe the platforms and wreck's bottom structure were also damaged or pressed down/up, as the wreck was leaning ~2° to port, away from shore, after uprighting. No outsiders really know any details of what happened to the wreck's hull under water.

View from space of Costa Concordia after parbuckling

Only the wheel house and four top decks of the deck house could then be seen! The now, further damaged hull was still 70-80% below water resting at 30 meters depth on some platforms at midlength installed on the sea floor of wreck's port side and on grouting bags at P and granite rocks at PF and PA on wreck's starboard side. Wave forces could lift it up and push it away.

Top of deck house of Costa Concordia seen after parbuckling 17 September 2013. As the wreck was rotated into deeper water and 30 meters depth, you can now see less of it above water. As the bow is not supported away from shore, the fore ship is rotated and deformed outwards and apparently flipping up/down ... with risk of dropping off! The chartered in barge seen extreme left accommodating 120 salvage divers left 17 November 2013. Right and left are crane barges belonging to the Salvors

Uprighting worked. All port sponson tanks except two were fully were submerged. So far so good.

But the starboard bilge and flat bottom hull internal structure hidden underwater at PF and PA were severely damaged in the process.

If the further damaged wreck's hull is strong enough to be re-floated and towed away remains to be determined.


100's of media persons evidently didn't notice the structural destruction underwater and therefore didn't ask any relevant questions.

Media people generally do not know much about ship structures, ship salvage and ship safety at sea. Prove me wrong and collect 1M!

Underwater inspection of the damaged hull structure started immediately and should have taken a couple of days but the result was not made known. No explanations were given so you have to assume that the hull bilge and flat bottom were further damaged at PF and PA and platforms L1-6.

 

 

22. Why are there no reports about what happened to the hull under water?

It is a fact that no underwater examination and survey of the wreck was made public and a report issued to establish the condition of the wreck after capsize 14 January 2012 and sliding down on the rocky sea floor, e.g. if it was worthwhile to salvage the wreck at all. And now it seems that no underwater examination and survey of the up righted wreck has been made public to establish the condition of the wreck after parbuckling, e.g. to compare the hull condition before/after parbuckling and if it is possible to attach buoyancy tanks on the starboard side and to re-float the wreck at all, etc. Why this secrecy? It is very easy to do underwater inspections of ships' hulls. I have done it many times.

It would have been easy to install cameras underwater, so you could have followed developments there in real time before, during and after parbuckling, e.g. the crushing of the hull at PF and PA. Apart from providing useful information, it would have been spectacular footage in any documentary of the complete project.


There are plenty reports of structural work done on the port side and bilge above water prior parbuckling to allow the fitting of tanks and to reinforce the port bilge i.w.o. pull chains/wires. But there are no reports of any structural work on the starboard bilge.

The big part of the upright wreck forward of PF, i.e. the bow is now resting on nothing on the sea floor below it. Depth is too deep and no platform could be put there. Instead a blister buoyancy tank (see below) was fitted around the quite heavy fore ship prior up righting/parbuckling to keep the bow in place and prevent it from dropping off.

It would appear that after uprighting the big, ~8 000 tons heavy bow part connected to the 6 000 m3 blister buoyancy tank 18-30 meters below surface is flipping up/down/right/left due to surface wave motions and is not really securely connected to the rest of the wreck due to structural failures in the bottom, bilge and side at PF. Thus it is possible that cracks and fractures in the structure develop further and the whole fore ship simply drops off and rolls forward during the upcoming winter.

The Salvors seem to have noticed the fore ship up/down flipping forward of PF and have therefore decided 7 October 2013 to the positioning of an additional hold-back system to avoid movements of the bow, whatever that means except that the bow moves. And on 11 November 2013 we were told that the hold back system would be in place end November 2013. If it works is another matter.

Anyway, the fore ship flipping will further delay serious, or whatever, salvage work of the 499+ brave workers of 21 nationalities working 24/24 & 7/7 we are told. Media will never tell you this bad but interesting news. Media just trumpet the usual ship owner propaganda show paid for by re-insurance that parbuckling/uprighting by the 499+ clever beach comber Salvors was a success and that the environment is safe ... and all is the fault of the Master.

Imagine that 499+ salvage workers are positioning an additional hold-back system to avoid movements of the bow of the wreck and that media do not report any details.

This is the first time in history as far as I am concerned that a salvage company is trying to fix/repair/reinforce a damaged wreck 30 meters underwater after uprighting and before re-floating. And are really 499+ salvage workers active? Real action seemed very slow November 2013 - only one or two crane barges were seen working - and that can only keep say 100 workers/divers busy.

 

 

23. A simpler, safer, less expensive and more ecologically friendly salvage method was not chosen

I have dry-docked many ships during my 40+ years in shipping. You place the ship in the dock and very slowly remove the water so that the fragile hull comes to rest on support blocks. To rotate a ship underwater resting on two rocky outcrops will just damage the hull. You have to be very careful ... and take it easy.

In principle it was possible to pump dry, refloat and salvage the wreck, weight ~45 000 tons, value plenty, plenty, by reversing the process that sank the ship, i.e. first temporarily repair visible port hull side damages watertight and second to lift the heeling, water filled wreck off the sloping rocks using steel/nylon/net cradles hanging between external 9 000 dwt pontoons - 3 each side - total lift capacity 54 000 tons - and then to put the wreck on a flat, less exposed, horizontal seabed in the vicinity at a the right depth/draught and to get the bulkhead deck above water by uprighting the ship on a flat, soft (sand?) seafloor.

Getting the wreck away from the fragile underwater flora and fauna of Isola del Giglio using external pontoons and minimum force applied on the hull could easily have been done in short time summer 2012.

The simplest and cheapest way to get rid of the wreck would probably have been, after securing the wreck on the sea floor, just to scrap it in situ by first cutting away all parts above water and putting them on barges using a crane and shipping them off. This job on the heeling wreck may have been difficult but with good preparations working on horizontal platforms possible. The submerged parts could then have been cut/sawn in pieces, lifted off the sea floor by pontoons and disposed of in standard manner. It has been done many times. I assume the environment would not have been disturbed too much.

The sinking after capsize took place as shown below:

A cradle/mesh of nylon ropes below the Costa Concordia wreck fitted between six pontoons, each 9 000 dwt, could probably have lifted off the wreck 2012. The wreck rests underwater on one rocky outreach PF and another rocky outreach PA with no support in between and with plenty space for the nylon rope cradle/mesh forward, middle and aft of the rocks! Grout bags are not required P

Note that nobody died on 13 January and that vessel probably also damaged the starboard side when capsizing 14 January.

The wreck's starboard side however still 15 September 2013 rested on two rocky outreaches PF and PA at 15-30 meters depth while the 0.4L midship area down the starboard bilge P and the 0.15L ends were free and resting on nothing and that's where you should have put your cradles. The bulkhead deck is 14.2 meters above keel. To get the heeling wreck off the sloping, rocky seabed, it must be lifted vertically a certain distance so that the wreck can be moved to an area with a flat, horizontal, uniform seabed with depth say ~20 meters, where it can be pulled upright by simple means without applying too great forces on the hull. The same pontoons/cradles can then be used to move the upright ship to an area with less depth (<12 meters). With the bulkhead deck above water you can then pump dry intact, watertight hull compartments that were down flooded after capsize causing the sinking, while maintaining ship stable, when it starts to float. You only have to pump out 45.000 tons of water and the wreck floats. The presence of 25 illegal, watertight doors in the 16 watertight bulkheads, even if they can be closed by divers below water, makes the task complicated. It is evidently another reason why watertight doors are not permitted to be fitted in hull bulkheads in the first place.

The cost may also become prohibitive, when the underwriters refuse the claim due to lack of diligence of the ship owner and unseaworthiness of the ship causing the sinking killing people in the first place.

 

 

24. The ship/wreck owner selected the Salvors April/May 2012

The owner of the wreck, Costa Crociere, thus invited companies that were thought to be capable of performing the salvage/removal work, i.e. removing the intact wreck in the shortest period of time while also ensuring maximum safety and minimum environmental impact.

It seems no above water and underwater condition survey of the hull, superstructure and deck house was done and reported to facilitate for the companies and underwriters to evaluate the situation.

The salvage companies invited included Donjon Marine, Fukada Salvage & Marine Works, Mammoet Salvage, Nippon Salvage, Resolve Marine, Smit, Svitzer, T&T Marine, Titan/Micoperi and Tito Neri. Proposals had to be submitted by the beginning of March 2012 because a contract was to be awarded within the month.

The complete salvage operation, no scrapping in situ but complete removal incl. any form of prevention, mitigation or elimination of the hazards created by a wreck, was estimated by the experts (sic) to take up to 10 months and cost $300 million. 26 months and $600 million later (March 2014) the wreck was still underwater - only up right.

Early April 2012 media informed that the vessel would be refloated and removed ... and maybe repaired!

Underwater platform #1 was positioned on the sea floor at ~30 meters depth on April 3, 2013 to parbuckle the Costa Concordia upright on it, so that the water filled wreck later can be re-floated and towed away. The area P between the inboard side of the platform and the starboard bilge of the wreck was then filled in with 70 tons cement bags (grouting)

The winning proposal included building and positioning strange underwater platforms outside the wreck of M/S Costa Concordia port side onto which the complete and water filled wreck would be rolled, then refloated using external tanks attached to the wreck to finally be towed away. All work would be completed by February 2013!

Rolled? On two rocky outcrops PF and PA on a sloping sea floor?

 

 

25. A complicated, time consuming, untested and expensive salvage method was chosen

Cristiano Pellegrini, spokesman for Giglio council, said:

"The removal intact of the ship was always the solution that we and the regional authorities wanted because it ensured the least impact on the environment."

Franco Gabrielli, Italy's Civil Protection Chief, who is in charge of the commission dealing with the disaster, said:

"The company which has won the contract will be announced by the middle of April. This company will remove the ship intact in its entirety."

The Italo-American consortium Titan-Micoperi and 438 persons of 19 nationalities were supposed to refloat the water filled Costa Concordia May 2012 - May 2013 at a cost of $300M, so it could be towed away - still full of water!

Photo: Anders Björkman - Costa Concordia 13 January 2013 - the 100 tons boulder has been removed but the port side hull damage remains open!
"The project is the one providing greater guarantees for environmental (sic) because it plans to keep the wreck in one piece ... this implies a very high budget ... The plan was selected by an evaluation team* with specialist representatives ... [the plan] best fulfils the main objectives of the operation: removal of the wreck in one piece, minimal risk, minimal environmental impact, protection of Giglio's economy and tourism industry, and maximum safety of the work. The number of people involved in the operations will be variable, according to the phase of the operations. (min 30 - max 200). The large majorities of the work force involved in the project will be Italian professionals."

*The evaluation team consisted only of representatives from ship/wreck owner of the not seaworthy M/S Costa Concordia Costa Crociere itself, Carnival Corporation & plc (owners of Costa Crociere), London Offshore Consultants and Standard P&I Club (associated with the ship owner), with the collaboration (sic) of RINA and Fincantieri. No serious, professional outsiders were asked to assist. It was the reason why the salvage became at least three times more expensive as agreed before it fails completely 2014. Why proven conventional salvage methods were not used is not clear.

Photo: Anders Björkman - Costa Concordia 13 January 2013 - preparations to fit sponsons on the intact port side hull above waterline and below superstructure/deck house are on the way. Doubler plates are fitted i.w.o. chains keeping wreck in place

 

 

26. "The work to remove the wreck in one piece by re-floating and towing it away from the site will take 12 months"

On 18 May, 2012 the selected Salvors explained: 

"Operations will be divided into four basic stages:

(1) after stabilizing the ship, a subsea platform will be built and caissons that can be filled with water will be fixed to the side of the ship that is out of the water;

(2) two cranes fixed to the platform will pull the ship upright, helped by the caissons which will be filled with water;

(3) when the ship is upright, caissons will also be fixed to the other side of the hull;

(4) the caissons on both sides will then be emptied, after treating and purifying the water to protect the marine environment, and filled with air.

Once floated, the wreck will be towed to an Italian port and dealt with in accordance with the requirements of the Italian Authorities.

The work to remove the wreck in one piece by re-floating and towing it away from the site will last 12 months." 

Smit apparently later, after its bid had not been accepted, said it was not possible to salvage the wreck and that the only solution was to scrap the wreck in situ.

Why was it necessary "treating and purifying the water to protect the marine environment" that had been flooded into the caissons? A layman would evidently just fill the caissons with air to provide buoyancy and allow the water to be pushed out. No reason to treat and purify that water. You should wonder what clowns had written the above four explanations.

Later the operations were completely changed. Six platforms were installed on the sea floor. 20 000 tons of cement bags - grouting - were positioned below wreck's port bilge P. No cranes were fixed to the platforms but winches were fitted on/close to shore. Pull steel wires were fitted between wreck/caissons and winches via steel pulley blocks fitted on the platforms. And "caissons will also be fixed to the other side of the hull" was planned for April, 2013 (that work started a year later, April, 2014). Interestingly enough the known hull damages port side were not going to be repaired watertight prior up-righting and no reinforcements of starboard side at PF and PA of the bilge to be under great pressure during the up-righting were going to be fitted.

To accommodate the salvage staff and divers a platform was chartered for 6 months:

"The 60 double cabins in the platform will provide accommodation for the team of divers who will work day and night to complete work on schedule."

You get the impression that the work would be finished quite fast. But on 18 November, 2013, the platform disappeared from Isola del Giglio. And the work had not been completed on schedule. Far from it as described below.

 

 

27. Parbuckling structurally damaging the wreck and compressing the sea floor

The idea was, after securing the water filled wreck on the rocky sea floor and after having removed the yellow funnel with the blue C, to install at 30 meters depth a false sea floor at the ship's starboard bilge P between the coral reefs in the shape of 70 tonnes cement mattresses/grouting bags and steel framed subsea platforms outside the wreck's 0.5L midbody (more details below).

Then 15 (!) sponson caisson tanks P1-P15, average weight 370 tons, two with bottom and top sections the others just with one 18 meters high (bottom) section were welded on the intact, easily accessible, above water port outside of the wreck's rather strong hull but below the much weaker superstructure and deck house.

Parbuckling - pulling the vessel with mass m up right with forces F1 and F2 while applying great reaction force F on the starboard bilge structure at PF, P and PA below water so that bilge structure there will collapse and probably the whole ship will break apart! Note that the picture is misleading. The sea floor at PF, P and PA consists of rocks and sand bags.

Tanks #P4-P12 may be each 12 meters long, 18 meters deep (forgetting the top part of two tanks above water after re-floating) and 10 meters wide. Each tank provides about 2 160 m
3 volume. Tanks #P3 and #P13 may have similar volume like #P1, #P2 and #P14 and #P15. Salvors will thus add ~32 400 m3 buoyancy to the port side (and 5 700 tons of steel), which should be sufficient to refloat the wreck at 18 meters draught, when the same amount of buoyancy is provided on the starboard side.

The tanks are quite heavy:

A total of 30 steel caissons, with combined weight of approximately 11,500 tonnes, will be built in different Fincantieri shipyards,

we are told. I could probably have designed much lighter sponsons: total weight 7 500 tons, but who cares about an extra 4.000 tons of steel? 

It would probably also have been simpler and cheaper combining #P4-6 to one tank, #P7-9 to another tank and #P10-12 to a third tank but then work would go faster ... so it was not a good idea. Weight limitations?

Two forward tanks, #P1 and #P2, will one way or another be attached above the shaped fore ship with a 'blister' below after up righting. The 'blister', two steel tanks bolted together will be attached like a collar below the bow prior parbuckling starts, while #P1 and #P2 will be fitted underwater on the port side later like #P14 and #P15 at the stern after parbuckling is complete. Again you wonder why the tanks could not be combined.

If the port side structural hull damages will be sealed watertight was not clear. In the end it was not done.

Most, >95%, of the extra buoyancy provided by the sponson caisson tanks is located between the wreck's flat bottom and 18 meters up the side in order to enable the wreck to be refloated at 18 meters draught after uprighting or parbuckling. Why 18 meters draught was chosen is not clear. At that draught, 18 meters, the complete hull and superstructure and half the deck house are still submerged.

Third, the 45.000 (or 51 000) tons wreck (now incl. 11 outside port sponson tanks and the 'blister' below the bow) with mass m but without funnel will be parbuckled, actually rolled, upright around PF, P and PA at 30 meters depth onto the subsea platforms - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3r7GDXFF54.

 

 

28. Parbuckling

The definition of parbuckling is:

1. A rope sling for rolling cylindrical objects up or down an inclined plane.

2. A sling for raising or lowering an object vertically.

tr.v. par·buck·led, par·buck·ling, par·buck·les

To raise or lower with such a sling.

In this case the parbuckling pull force of the order 7 000 tons applied by wires to the top of the sponsons running below the submerged starboard bilge at P via pulley blocks fitted on the platforms will displace the wreck's mass m from one side to the other of contact areas PF, P and PA, where the wreck's starboard bilge contacts the false, grout bag sea floor or coral reef and the wreck will roll outwards down the sloping sea floor ... onto the platforms.

Contact areas PF, P and PA are where the extreme starboard bilge contacts the grouting bags or the granite coral reefs over say 80-150 meter or 30-50% of the ship's length or 0.3-0.5L and where great reaction force F is applied to the weak wreck structure during parbuckling. Probably more force is applied at PF and PA as these areas are more solid.

It seems that none of the alleged professionals involved in the project - Franco Porcellacchia, Alessandro Vettori, Gabriele Bartoli, Giampaolo Marino, Sergio Girotto, Carlo Femiani, Giovanni Ceccarelli, Guy Wood, Nicholas Sloane and Alvaro Guidotti - has ever done a parbuckling before and there is no evidence that the method works keeping the vessel intact.

According them and the Salvors it is however easy to parbuckle a ~45 000 tons wreck and the risk is known:

"The Concordia wreck removal is a unique and extremely complex technical-engineering operation, a naval salvage operation like no other in history, involving the best international expertise and advanced technologies. Activities continue with about 500 workers and 30 vessels at work 24/7. Environmental protection is a priority in the removal operations."

"The parbuckling or rotation will take about a couple of days, as the movement has to be extremely delicate and constantly monitored. The parbuckling will be performed using strand jacks which will be tightening several cables attached to the top of the (port/upper side) caissons and to the platforms (below water), which will be pulled seawards, while the cables attached to the starboard turrets will be used for balancing. This is a very delicate phase, during which the forces involved have to be offset carefully to rotate the wreck without deforming the hull."

Nicholas Sloane, Senior Salvage Master at Titan Micoperi:

"When you parbuckle, she is a very large vessel, you're putting a lot of force into the structure itself, so you will expect some of the minor (sic) structural elements to collapse. It's like a house where you have a wooden doorframe that will break but the walls should survive. ... there will be a lot of deformation to her. … Yes the risk is there, but we think we know the risk and we're confident that this is going to happen."

 Nicholas Sloane, 12 August 2013:

"When we raise (Costa Concordia) you will hear the noise from the wrenching and of the fracture of internal sections but we hope (!) that the external (sic) structure remains intact."

"We have dealt with any fears about the operation in the best way possible - by conducting serious evaluations and putting in place all the possible technical and engineering measures."

Actually parbuckling is not a conventional salvage method and has not been frequently used. The very great reaction forces applied at PF and PA, while rotating the wreck, will fracture the bottom structure unless you reinforce and/or protect the areas. If not the ends may simply drop off, when you refloat the wreck.

Sometimes I get a feeling that the wreck owner and the H&M and P&I underwriters have 2012 chosen an expensive and slow salvage method to destroy the wreck and any evidence 2012-2016, while they destroy the Master in the Italian legal court at Grosseto 2013-2015. It is not a nice feeling.


When rotating the wreck the centre of gravity of wreck mass
m is evidently displaced upwards "extremely delicately" and then tipped outwards of PF, P and PA by pull cables/wires (marked red on 2-D picture below) attached to the port outside shell and port sponson tanks and carried below the wreck's bottom/starboard side direct and/or via the steel platform.

Such an extremely delicate salvage operation has never been performed before - rotating a damaged wreck over two rocky granite reefs PF and PA to land on some underwater platforms - and it is strange how lightly media report the strange innovation and associated risks.

Wreck during parbuckling onto underwater steel platform! When the centre of gravity of the wreck's mass m is outside P (and PF and PA) and the reaction force on starboard bilge, the pull force is no longer required! The wreck will rotate outwards by itself and port bilge will hit the steel platform unless buoyancy of the port sponson tanks being submerged stops rotation. Before it happens wreck's starboard bilge structure and the sea floor itself at PF, P and PA will be crushed

The winches/strand jacks are located onshore or on the sea floor close to the island. During the pulling and tipping, m displaces upwards and to the right/outwards of PF, P and PA and, when the centre of gravity of 45.000 to 51 000 tons mass m of the wreck is shifted outwards of areas PF, P and PA on the sea floor/bilge, the wreck rotates freely outwards by gravity stopped only by buoyancy forces of the port sponson tanks being submerged ... and by cables attached to some starboard side turrets ... whatever it could be?

During the pull the pull force is of the order 7.000 tons until centre m of wreck's mass passes above PF, P and PA and the pull wires become slack = force 0.


It would appear you must rotate the wreck only ~20° to about 45° heel and then
m passes above PF, P and PA and then the pull wires become slack. Apparently some starboard side wires attached to turrets (?) shall then stop the outward rotation to soften the landing on the platforms.

Before uprighting ship's mass m, say 45.000 tons adjusted for being part submerged incl. new port sponson tanks/water, is carried by the complete side of the vessel in contact with the sea floor, say 2 000 m², so the pressure is 22.5 tons/m². That side is already crushed at PF and PA by wave loads, etc. During parbuckling ship's mass m is carried only by the starboard bilge at PF, P and PA areas in contact with the sea floor. The force in each of the 25 (red) pull wires/chains may be of the order say 250-300 tons.

Reaction forces are then applied to the ship's bilge structure at PF, P and PA that will be deformed or crushed ... and maybe will cut the (red) pull wires, when PF, P and PA maybe move down or towards the island.

The pressure on PF, P and PA is the reaction force, i.e. the ship's mass m adjusted for buoyancy of submerged parts + the vertical parts of the pull forces divided by the area of PF, P and PA.

Say total area of PF, P and PA is 100 m² and the adjusted mass is ~35.000 tons and the vertical pull forces are ~5.000 tons or total reaction force 40.000 tons. It means the average pressure on the bilge structure will be 400 tons/m² ... or 18 times greater than before! The pressure will probably be greater at rocky PF and PA than at cement bag P.

The bilge structure is just 12 mm shell plate supported by the inner bottom and a side girder and some brackets designed for a draught of 8.5 meters (8.5 tons/m²). It cannot withstand the big pressure and will be crushed unless being heavily reinforced by, e.g. doubler plates that should be fitted, at least, i.w.o. the pull wires/chains.

Photo: Anders Björkman - Costa Concordia 14 January 2012 - structural damages are on port vertical side aft just below waterline

 

 

Simple static mechanics problems: Apply pull forces F1 say 7 000 tons, which rotates m say 45.000 tons up and outwards around PF, P and PA and F2 (small to keep wreck in place) via wires as shown above on the wreck with mass m resting on bilge at PF, P and PA. What will the reaction force F at PF, P and PA be, when rotation of the 45 000 tons mass m starts? And when m is just above P?

Note that most of sea floor at P is the top of a 6-16 meters high pile of grouting cement bags filling up the hollow area between two coral reef outreaches at PF and PA.

Can wreck's structure at rocky PF, cement bag P and rocky PA withstand the reaction force F without getting crushed? Answer - see left!


It seems the coral reef at
PF and PA will also be crushed (if not already destroyed).

"What happens if the critical area along the edge where the ship is rotated breaks apart? ",

wondered Der Spiegel September 2012. That was a very good question!

"No one can say with absolute certainty that it will work."

 

 

29. The wreck has sunk 3 more meters since capsize

It would appear that the forward part of the wreck or the whole wreck had September 2013 sunk down an extra ~3 meters below water since capsize and sinking 14 January 2012:

It is due to the fact that the complete starboard side and adjacent decks in hull, superstructure and deck house in contact with the sea floor granite reefs underwater at PF and PA were severely damaged by wave movements of and forces acting on the wreck side structure during a year and half and pushed it upwards a couple of meters, while the wreck has also displaced or slipped away from shore into deeper water. In another ten, twenty years the wreck would simply disappear by itself due to wave forces grinding it apart.

Evidently the deck house is very weak - 5-6 mm plates in sides and decks, very light stiffeners, plenty of openings/windows and easily deformed in contact with the sea floor - but the hull side is not very much stronger - 10 mm plats, a little stronger stiffeners. The part forward of PF has also dropped down. There is nothing to support it below. 

The Italian Civil Protection Department has set up competence centers and other research institutes to establish and coordinate a system of real-time monitoring for Early Warning. The data verifies the conditions for safe operation and evaluates the movements of the wreck of Costa Concordia. The data and evaluations are shared with a Technical Committee. This data will be useful to establish how much the wreck has moved and what structural damages you can expect and if salvage by re-floating is possible. Unfortunately no such data has been made publically available ... and you wonder why.

Before capsize 13 January 2012 the forward starboard bilge was touching ground at ~7 meters draught and the aft starboard bilge was touching ground at ~11 meters draught. There was no grounding. The vessel's flat bottom was not stuck on the sea floor. Then 14 January 2012 the floating, not grounded, ship capsized 90° and the forward starboard deck house top side PF crushed against the granite ground/coral reef at <7 meters draught and the aft deck house top side PA crushed against the granite ground/coral reef at <11 meters draught and the side was pushed in and ripped open. This is quite clear from the http://video.repubblica.it/dossier/naufragio-giglio-costa-concordia/la-fuga-dalla-concordia-il-video-a-infrarossi/85900?video - the top deck of the 90° capsized, still floating high ship is only ~30 meters from shore and the trim on stern is of the order six meters, while about 300 persons are walking on the ship's side.

Source: http://video.repubblica.it/dossier/naufragio-giglio-costa-concordia/la-fuga-dalla-concordia-il-video-a-infrarossi/85900?video

Costa Concordia floating after capsize very close to shore but before sinking 14 January 2012 due to down flooding. At this time starboard deck house top side had been locally crushed forward and aft. Later the lower part and the hull bilge and bottom were further damaged when ship displaced say six meters down and 30-40 meters away from shore on the rocks on the sloping sea floor, while sinking

Then all hull compartments were down flooded, sinking started and the parts of side of the ship from bilge to top deck touched the rocky ground forward at PF and aft at PA at ~65° list. The intermediate part above P was not touching anything.

Side at PF from bilge to top of deck house was pushed in >3 meters, slightly less at PA. The flat bottom was buckled, where vertical side was pushed in.

Then the listing wreck was sliding another six meters down and 30-40 meters away from the shore on the sea floor further damaging and pushing in the starboard side structure from bilge to top deck also cracking the bilge and flat bottom structure at PF and PA. This local structural destruction and displacement on the rocks actually slowed down the wreck that otherwise would have continued to slide away from shore to disappear completely below water. Attending boats around the wreck could have been swept aside and damaged, if that had happened.

So the sunken wreck came to a halt at 65° heel and 70% submerged at 03.00 hrs or later January 14, 2012. The cheap cruise on the not seaworthy ship was over. You get what you pay for.

More damages to the wreck side structure have evidently taken place between 14 January 2012 and mid-September 2013 due to wave action and wreck movements rubbing against the rocks.

Only fools believed that the M/S Costa Concordia was undamaged under water on the starboard side and in the bottom after capsizing and sliding away on the sea floor 14 January, 2012.

When the wreck was uprighted 17 September, 2013, we could see below of the starboard side:

The forward not very strong deck house side at PF was severely crushed or pushed in and upwards in contact with the rocky bottom and the whole forward part right of PF appears to be dropping down as there is no support below (except the blister tanks). The aft deck house side at PA was also seen crushed/pushed in due contact with the sea floor and the aft part left of PA also seems to be dropping down.

The intermediate P area was straight, undamaged and not crushed at all, i.e. it never touched the rocky sea floor. A diver could have swum below the wreck there before and after parbuckling.

The structural side damages continue down to the hull and the bilge, which were pushed in also buckling the flat bottom. During parbuckling the already damaged bilge/flat bottom areas at PF and PA were then further deformed and the flat bottom structure is now fractured.

Apparently the whole fore ship is rotated to port relative the midship part due to these structural failures.

Underwater examination is therefore required to establish the actual condition of the hull and superstructure/deck house side at PF and PA below water. Attaching, e.g. 15 sponson tanks to this damaged side for later refloating, may be ... difficult. And there are simpler, better, less expensive, faster solutions to proceed (see below).

Let's have a look at the areas PF, P and PA around which the wreck were parbuckled. Were they really strong enough?

Source: http://www.uniroma1.it/sites/default/files/stato%20avanzamento_vl_30_08_finale.pdf

It would appear that most of the critical parbuckling area P is located between the shallow granite, south coral reef outreach of the bow PF and the shallow granite, north coral reef outreach of the stern PA, i.e. there is just deep water there and nothing to support the bilge. Wires/chain can be pulled below the wreck here and just be in touch with the wreck's thin plate bilge structure. So maybe the starboard side is damaged only in way of the coral reef outreaches PF and PA and intact in between.

In order to be able to parbuckle the wreck the about 100 meters long and 20 meters wide and >30 meters deep P area must be filled up with something for the wreck's bilge P to rest on, e.g. 2.500 fabric formworks, which will support the ship's hull during the up-righting phase of the salvage operation and unload areas PF and PA.

A company called FoundOcean has designed and manufactured the speciality formworks which are being placed and grouted in situ, much like standard pipeline freespan correction grout bags. Once the formwork embankment has been completed, grout mattresses will be installed on top of them, and filled in the same way. It is suggested that:

"The grout mattresses will provide a flat, stable platform for the ship's hull to rest on once it has been rolled upright".

However a 30 times greater pressure will be applied during the roll upright (at PF, P and PA only) and you wonder, if this has been considered.

Some of the grout bags or formworks installed at >30 meters depth below wreck's starboard bilge. You really wonder how deep the area below the midship bilge P is and if it really can be filled with effective grouting? The picture is ridiculous Source

It is suggested that an estimated 14 000 or 20 000 tons (!) of cement sourced from Italian cement manufacturer Italcementi has been used to fill the void between wreck's bilge
P/the steel platforms at 30 meters depth and the sea floor at ~35-40 meters depth (or more?) in the form of grout bags and mattresses with an additional 900 tonnes for the platform pile grouting phase whatever that means.

The cement mattresses or bags fill the 10-15 meters wide and 6-16 (?) meters deep wedge over 100-150 meters between bilge (>6.000 m3) platforms and north and south coral reefs - to level the bottom to 30 meters depth. The grout bags, each of which weighs up to 70 tons and volume 25 m3, are designed to be lifted back out of the sea, when the salvage operation is complete. They will then be taken ashore for processing and recycling, we are told.

The bags were apparently brought down empty by 200+ divers at >30 meters depth and were then filled up with cement from supply ships on the surface via a hose to make a support below bilge P at 30 meters depth. This work was still going on August 2013. Any corals below these bags must be crushed by now. If 1 300 bags have been used maybe 100 000 tons of cement has been put on the sea floor!  Salvage group Titan/Micoperi says they protect the environment but fact is that they have built a 20 000 or 100 000 tons cement embankment at >30 meters depth below the wreck! The islanders do not really understand this. Supply ships have visited the wreck 100's of times with plenty of cement pumped overboard each trip.

 

 

30. The difficulties to parbuckle a delicate hull structure on an uneven, rocky sea floor

The majority of the sponson tanks are fitted around L/2 or midship of the wreck, which at present is only supported by the grout bags at the bilge - the famous P area. The wreck's 0.4L side at midship is not supported by anything. If these sponson tanks above waterline are filled with water to assist the parbuckling, they will add to the mass of the wreck. The wreck has little buoyancy at midship, so the extra water will increase the pressure applied by the wreck on the sea floor at the rocky areas PF and PA and the wreck will really sag between the fwd/aft supports by the reef outreaches before parbuckling even starts. The deck house provides little strength.

The hull is already damaged on the port aft side due to the contact and on the starboard fwd/aft side at PF and PA due to the capsize, so one possibility is that the wreck or its hull is fractured in three parts - bow, midship and stern, when parbuckling starts.

No ship is built to be parbuckled and any ship's structure is quite delicate just designed to handle static cargo and buoyancy and dynamic wave loads and not contact point loads from granite sea floors at PF and PA.

Cargo ships have more robust bottom structures i.w.o. their cargo holds and weigh less, i.e. the loads are less on them, when grounding and they are easier to salvage after removing all heavy cargo, etc.

The 'cargo' of a passenger ship is evidently, apart from passengers, the deck house (weight 30 000 tons on Costa Concordia), which is still there putting pressure on the seabed. If part of the deck house had been removed in situ by the Salvors, the pressure on the bottom had been reduced, the weight of the wreck had been reduced and less sponson buoyancy tanks needed to re-float the wreck, etc.

What is certain to me is that the line/edge/point PF, P and PA around which the non-cylindrical wreck is rotated is subject to very great - enormous - local pressures damaging the bilge structure and that, maybe, the pull wires will then slice the bottom and starboard side shell plates and stiffeners apart and displace upwards through the hull! The hull will be partly sliced and total strength reduced.

The free rotation (unless stopped by wires attached to starboard turrets of unknown locations) will produce a mini-tsunami wave. In 3-D the aft end will probably shift one way and the bow another, i.e. longitudinal rotation of the wreck, etc.

The outside steel platforms are needed as fix points of the pulley blocks of the upper pull wires during up righting and for support of port side of the water filled wreck after uprighting. The starboard bilge/bottom will still be in contact with coral reef below the bilge at P.

Two port sponson caissons are tall, the other nine short. The short ones will be fully submerged, when wreck is upright. Evidently only the submerged part of a tank provides buoyancy.

How similar tanks on starboard side will later be attached to the deformed hull and superstructure side underwater is not clear. Above shows tall tank P10 and short tank P11 in place

The (red) chains from port side below the bottom and pulled to and secured on shore will keep the wreck moored afterwards, unless they slip off any doublers on the bilges and slice the hull or are cut by the wreck's starboard bilge being crushed in touch with the granite rocks at bow and stern and the soft bilge grouting mattresses in between, the latter maybe being pushed outwards.

So (right), when the forward/bow and aft/stern bilge/bottom structures are compressed and damaged in contact with the granite rock outreaches at PF and PA due to the great reaction force F, the whole wreck balancing on P simply drops downwards. The damaged wreck will still rotate onto the platform, though.

Location of Costa Concordia after sea floor and starboard bilge have collapsed while parbuckling. The failures in the starboard bilge structure are unevenly distributed and maximum at PF and PA. As wreck bends any cracks may develop upwards in the flat bottom structure. You can still get the wreck onto the platform, though

The reaction forces at
PF and PA will crack the flat bottom plate structure.

If the damaged wreck hull is strong enough to be re-floated and towed away remains to be determined.

When wreck is rotated upwards into deeper water away from shore by pull forces midship, the Forward Part and the Aft Part bilge/flat bottom structures in touch with sea floor at PF and PA are severely damaged

Not until 12 July 2013 Costa Crociere was in the process of completing the technical documentation that was supposed to be delivered to allow the authorities to evaluate the parbuckling project - the rotation of the wreck to a vertical position - and give their approval for the operations to take place in the month of September.

Costa added that:

"once the parbuckling is completed, it will be essential to assess the conditions of the wreck and evaluate any technical adjustments required, particularly on the submerged starboard side which is currently inaccessible in that it rests upon two cliffs of rocks".

We do not know what documentation Costa delivered mid July and to what authority. It must have included pictures and videos of the damaged underwater hull and calculations of forces applied to the hull while parbuckling rotating big mass m ~20° up above a support at PF, P and PA consisting of granite rocks and cement mattresses and what structural damages of the wreck you could expect.

On 17 August 2013 the parbuckling was scheduled for 4-9 September, 2013, weather permitting, i.e. just 5 months after the date (May 2013) the whole project would have been completed according original plans. Later the date was changed again. The attempt was done 16 September (see below).

We know that responsible people do not know the forces involved and the structural damages on the starboard side and what the forces will do to the structure at PF and PA:

Nicholas Sloane (15 September 2013) :

"We are not sure about the actual weight and how much the rocks are going to hold onto her. So that is a critical point as when we start up we will watch all the accelerometers and we want to increase the tension very slowly until she comes off the rocks".

Actually when the side comes off the rocks, all weight is carried by the bilge in touch with the rocks at PF and PA and the grout bags. Below is photo of the ship ready to be parbuckled. We are told that it will take only 12 hrs to parbuckle the wreck upright according Franco Gabrielli, the head of Italy's civil protection agency. We are not told how long it will take to parbuckle the ship ~20/30° upwards, when centre of gravity of big mass m arrives above support at PF, P and PA, when wreck will upright by itself. The upright wreck will then be submerged 30 meters, i.e. you will just see the top five decks of the deck house. As the platforms are located at 30 meters depth, it is indicated that upright wreck will be lifted (?) onto the platforms. All sounds very confusing as usual. Shouldn't the wreck's flat bottom land on the platforms?

Blister tank fitted on wreck prior parbuckling

When they get the wreck upright the 11 sponsons on the port side will be fully submerged except the two extra tall tanks, #P6 and #P10, and disappear below water.

The two forward sponsons, #P1 and #P2 will be attached to the blister after parbuckling and sponsons #P14 and #P15 aft will be attached to the stern under water also after parbuckling.

The steel 6 000 m3 blister tank (left) was fitted around the fore ship 20 meters under water like a collar prior parbuckling and filled with air.

The blister tank evidently supports the big, free, heavy, not supported by anything fore ship from falling off during and after parbuckling. Without the blister the fore ship may simply drop off while or after parbuckling due cracks in the hull bottom and side structure. But the blister tank also applies dynamic forces on the bow due to surface wave motion that may make the cracking worse.

It would appear that the fore ship flips up/down after uprighting, i.e. it is loose due to structural failures aft of #P3 sponson.

 

 

31. The parbuckling took place 16 September, 2013

It seems the experts Franco Gabrielli, Maria Sargentini, Franco Porcellacchia, Sergio Girotto and Nick Sloane have all agreed/announced that the attempt to upright was going to take place after 15 September, 2013.

"The last thing to complete is the check list of preparatory parbuckling activities that the consortium of companies has informed us on September 15. Therefore, from that moment it will be possible straightening. But it will require favorable weather conditions so we imagined that from 15 September onwards, within 14 hours of the previous day, we will know if the next day the parbuckling operation can be performed."  

So a check list was still under preparation. And all depended on the weather, we were told.

Weather? If you have studied all above you know for certain that weather or wave forces will not affect the great forces applied to the damaged wreck, when parbuckling rotation begins.

Anyway, the uprighting worked, destroying the wreck's starboard bilge/bottom at PF and PA, and the incompetent wreck owner of the unseaworthy ship represented by Michael Thamm decided to enter the show on Wednesday, September 18, 2013, with the following flopping announcement:

 

 

32. Thanks

"A personal thanks to each of you, five hundred men and women of the consortium Titan/Micoperi, that with ingenuity, commitment and enormous passion have allowed a decisive step forward to be taken towards the removal of M/S Costa Concordia from the Isola del Giglio. It is the most delicate and complex step, unprecedented in marine history and technical engineering, which required, in addition to a huge technological effort, the invention of a new way of thinking.

Thank you also to all men and women of Costa Crociere S.p.A. working with energy and dedication every day.

Thank you also to the institutions, authorities and our partners for their valuable assistance.

And thank you in particular to the Department of Civil Protection in Italy for their trust and support.

Also special thanks to the Mayor of Isola del Giglio and his generous and patient people. You have all given a lot more than you should.

And we, Costa Crociere S.p.A., will continue to do everything possible to ensure that present and future cruises of Costa Crociere S.p.A. are always better, safer and happier.

 

Michael Thamm

Chief Executive Officer

Costa Crociere S.p.A."

Michael Thamm, Chief Executive Officer, Costa Crociere S.p.A

Blah, blah, blah ... The total job was supposed to be finished in May and here we were in September with the wreck still below water. And doesn't Mr. Thamm understand that the four sister ships of M/S Costa Concordia are equally unsafe? And not seaworthy? And that nothing has been done to improve safety at sea since not seaworthy M/S Costa Concordia capsized 14 January 2012 and sank! Soon after most of the five hundred removal men and women disappeared from the wreck site.

Media thought that Costa Concordia was successfully lifted (?) but in fact only the visible port hull, superstructure and deck house side disappeared below water, while a little of the submerged, severely damaged top starboard deck house side became visible on 16 September, 2016, after parbuckling. Nothing was lifted anywhere. The wreck hull was also further destroyed below water. You now see less of the wreck than before! The only difference from before is that now the port flat hull bottom is grinding against the rocks due to wave forces and the flat bottom structure is destroyed.

If any lifting of the wreck will take place, it will be earliest July 2014.

Same media repeated all previous lies that the Master got people killed 13 January, 2012 and that nothing of interest happened 14 January, 2012. It is quite sad that media cannot report past and present correctly and that safety at sea has not improved since January 2012. Rather the opposite.

 

 

33. No documentation of the damaged hull underwater made available before and after parbuckling

The ship owner has not made available any wreck underwater condition report after capsize 2012 and prior parbuckling September 2013 for interested parties to study. You would expect that the complete wreck underwater - hull, incl. flat bottom and starboard bilge, superstructure and deck house - was filmed to enable underwriters and Salvors to judge, if salvage was really possible. Probably such films would show that lifesaving appliances were still in place at the starboard embarkation deck, etc, etc.

Even more surprising is that no underwater condition report of the hull, incl. flat bottom and starboard bilge at PF and PA after parbuckling is available so you can see the damages to the starboard bilge and flat bottom structure at PF and PA due to the great forces applied there during rotation up right. Also of interest is the condition of the chains used, as the chains were apparently crushed between the platforms and the wreck's flat bottom, when wreck landed on the platforms. Such a report is evidently required to establish, if the wreck actually landed on the platforms and can be re-floated. 85% of the flat hull bottom is easy to watch as it is not in touch with anything.

Crack inspection and continuous monitoring of the bottom structure in way of frames 116-208 PS apparently started Wednesday Jan 1, 2014 and was planned to be completed Tuesday June 24, 2014 after 174 days of close up inspections. End March 2014 only 30% of the job was done.

You can therefore conclude that Salvors have not really inspected the underwater hull for cracks.

 

 

34. Can the damaged wreck actually lift off from the bottom and be re-floated and towed away?

It seems I was not wrong re the parbuckling.

The wreck was uprighted but apparently with a small 1 meter trim on the bow and actually leaning to port 1-2°, but the wreck starboard hull bilge/bottom at PF and PA was further damaged in the process! Luckily the aft end didn't fall off, the big forward end didn't fall off either, the mid part didn't sink but the wreck landed with its port flat bottom on the six steel platforms on 17 September, 2013. It seems the platforms on port side were located a little deeper than the starboard contact areas resulting in the upright wreck leaning a little away from shore. It seems the upright wreck also trims a little on the bow, i.e. the bow is deeper in the water than the stern.

The upright wreck was and is then subject to wave forces pushing the upright wreck off the platforms and towards shore - further damaging the starboard bilge/bottom.


Media hailed the mostly beach comber Salvors as brave and noble heroes but forgot to ask whether the now further damaged wreck is still strong enough to be re-floated and towed away.

After parbuckling wreck's port side at midship landed on the six platforms L1-6 with sponson tanks outside. Wreck's starboard bilge at P rests on the grout bags but flat bottom area between P and platforms is not supported. The bow forward of PF is not really supported by anything except the blister tanks. Stern aft of PA is supported by small platform. The complete flat bottom is quite easy to examine for fractures, etc. To prevent wreck displacement due external wave/wind forces 28 bracing beams have November 2013 been installed between sponsons P5-P11 and the platforms ; eight to platform L1, 12 to platform L2 and eight to platform L3.

After successful parbuckling nine of the 11 port caissons/tanks were fully submerged, i.e. the top of tank was ~12 meters below water. About 20 000 m3 of contaminated water inside the ship shifted from starboard to port side. The hull starboard deck house side was evidently seen severely damaged and pushed in on the starboard side and further underwater examination is necessary to determine the damages and/or any fractures of the hull below and if more sponson tanks can be fitted, etc.

The uprighted wreck may have a mass of 51 000 tons incl. port side caissons only. The volume of submerged parts of the wreck may be 10 000 m3, which provides 10 000 tons of buoyancy. Thus about 41 000 tons of damaged wreck rests on the false sea floor steel platforms at port side and the 17 000 tons of groutings on starboard side ... and on the rocks, of course. If you empty the port side caissons to provide 25 000 tons of buoyancy there, the wreck will not rise but the load on the platform is reduced. In order to re-float the wreck you need about 21 000 tons of buoyancy on the starboard side, too to get off the rocks. How to do that?

Franco Porcellacchia, Vice President of Carnival Corporate Ship Refit Department:

"We now know with certainty the work that remains to be done, and we have the guarantee that certain operations can be carried out in a time frame that we can predict, so with what remains to be done it is reasonable to say that we'll be ready in September … We have an exact mapping of the water inside the various compartments. The ship has been compartmentalized in a way that any polluting materials like chemical products, paint, are contained in a secure and robust manner, and therefore there is no sign of leakage or loss of these substances, and so we do not predict that will happen in the next months. … Nonetheless we are equipped to collect anything that will eventually come out of the ship when it is brought upright, and we will have several means in position to contain anything that comes out".

You really wonder what guarantee and time frame the Carnival executive are talking about.

A little earlier, Feb 9, 2013, there was this incomprehensible news from Isola del Giglio:

"So far as concerns activities to manage the water inside the wreck, the strategy to implement the Plan was discussed, as were the results of the first cycle of samples of water inside the wreck, with a total of 62 samples taken near the portions of the hull held to be most critical and representative. 82 parameters have been taken into consideration, involving a total of over 5 thousand tests. The alterations found, caused by the degradation of food, furnishings and systems, as well as by the presence of hydrocarbons, are concentrated in a few specific compartments in the wreck."

Giglio mayor Sergio Ortelli:

"Bringing the ship upright in September (2013) would be a huge step forward, because from that moment onwards we will be able to plan the timings (sic) much more effectively and more accurately over this situation that is very complex. Righting the vessel will allow us to assess what happened on the side that is under water, understand the lacerations and what further interventions must be carried out before the ship can be taken away."  

Actually the starboard hull side will still be 15-30 meters below water and the further interventions are simply, after establishing the present condition of the damaged hull of the wreck by underwater survey, the ... 

 

 

35. ... underwater attachment of 4 port and 15 starboard sponson tanks spring 2014 and other works to secure the upright wreck

From now on all activities on the M/S Costa Concordia wreck will take place under water. Actually the really great difficulties start now but we will not be able to watch any progress via web cams unless they are fitted under water.

First the upright hull structure must be examined, documented and filmed to confirm the structural condition after parbuckling and spot any structural damages and fractures that may endanger future re-floating and towing. So far (October 2013) no underwater pictures of the bottom structure of the uprighted wreck have been made available.

It would of course be interesting to see pictures of the starboard bilge in touch with the rocks at PF and PA around which the wreck was rotated and the flat bottom that landed on the platforms later.

On 11 November Costa Crociere and the Titan Micoperi Consortium informed that the M/S Costa Concordia was stable on the platforms, as confirmed by the results of the constant monitoring activity.

"Wreck stability is also improved by the additional measures that have been studied in order to prepare the Concordia to face the winter season and that are that are (sic) currently close to completion.

28 tubular steel braces have been positioned and connect the wreck through the sponsons to the underwater platforms on sea side, while the positioning of grout stoppers on the shore side was completed 10 November, 2012. The installation of an additional hold-back system for the bow is the third operation currently in progress and is expected to be completed before the end of November."

There is no doubt that the wreck is stable. The wreck is just a wreck with thin hull plates resting on the rocky sea floor and some platforms. But we can only see the top of the deck house. The problem is, if the wreck is correctly secured/moored/anchored to prevent it from being pushed further up the rocky beach by wave and wind forces during the winter. How the platforms themselves are secured to the ground is clear - they rest in holes drilled in the rocks. But can really 28 vertical tubular steel beams (one seen right) between platforms/wreck secure the wreck? No details are provided. Who has ever heard about beams being fitted underwater to secure a wreck? Another first! What forces are acting on the wreck in touch with a rocky sea floor?

On 17 November the bow was still not secure. End November 2013 the Salvors informed that they continued the preparation for the installation of the restraint system of the bow, i.e. that the hold back system was not yet fitted.

Tubular steel braces are installed between platforms and sponson tanks to secure the wreck

Costa Concordia starboard deck house side above water - 15 sponson caissons will be attached to the hull 10-30 meters below water using wires and chains attached on the other side and carried below the bottom! You really wonder what the hull looks like?

Third another four sponson tanks, P1, P2, P14 and P15 will be installed 12 to 30 meters underwater on the port bow and stern to reach the total of 15.

By November, 2013 there were no signs of any #P1, #P2, #P14 or #P15 port tanks. (That job was still not done 18 June, 2014!)

And

"then other 15 (!) refloating sponsons will be attached to the starboard side of the wreck. These caissons will be used during the subsequent re-floating stage.

http://www.theparbucklingproject.com/page.php?page=progetto

Thus four port sponson tanks and 15 (!) additional starboard sponson tanks #S1-S15 (total weight 7 230 tons) will be attached, underwater this time, to the outside hull and superstructure below the embarkation deck. Big job! Sounds easy! But how to do it?

sponsons #S4-S12 at midlength will be attached to the wreck starboard, undamaged side with wires/chains in the corners. The wires/chains are attached to the port side of the wreck. sponsons #S1-S2 and #S14-15 will be attached to the ends of the wreck one way or another. sponson #S3 will be attached iwo the forward damaged PF area. sponson #S13 will be attached to the aft damaged PA area. All starboard sponsons will be attached below water. After refloating the tops of sponsons #S4-S12 will be just in the re-floating blue waterline. Only the submerged part of the caisson provides extra buoyancy.

The space on starboard side is very tight and confined. The starboard tanks will apparently be towed on barges to the wreck. Then all tanks #S1-15 will be lowered/sunk completely below water as far as possible until they touch bottom. See figure above - the tops of all tanks are fully below the green waterline before re-floating.

Tanks #S3-13 are apparently attached to the wreck by chains/wires in the four corners of each tank running below the wreck's bottom and fixed on the other side and then tanks #S3-13 are filled with air, so they float up against the wreck ... below water ... with their tops 12 meters below water. Total 36 wires/chains have to be hauled through the corner holes - using a crane barge - and after part re-floating each tank the wires are secured.

How tanks #S1-2 and #S14-15 are attached to the wreck's side is not clear - some hook up arrangement? Tanks #P1-2 on the port side are apparently attached to the blister and tanks #P14-15 are attached to foundations welded there last year. Later all tanks port and starboard + blister will be completely filled with air (water is pushed out) to first lift off and later re-float the wreck.

The Salvors have during winter 2013/2 014 repaired and prepared the wreck below water to receive the 15 starboard tanks, which can be attached fairly, quickly, it seems, when wires, chains and other attachments are in place.

Only two small floating cranes seem to be in use and they apparently support the divers fitting the securing beams between platforms/caissons on port side and doing repair and preparation works on the starboard side. All underwater, of course.

You do not really need sponsons #S3 and #S13, if you do the other sponsons a little bigger and want to save money. You only have to ensure that 25 500 m3 of buoyancy below 18 meters draught can be applied to the starboard side at refloating. Six sponsons could probably do it. Or just one ... pontoon on the surface!

A new crane was installed on the wreck 24 November 2013

On 23/24 November, 2013, a little crane (left) was installed on the top deck of the upright wreck. It can only handle <3 tons SWL, so it may only assist in cleaning out the water damaged deck house accommodation above water. The outreach of the crane is limited.

Beginning December, 2013, there was little action due to bad weather. Minor repairs were carried out underwater port and starboard. Progress reports in Italian are available but of little value, e.g:

30 November - launched the first line of connection tubular restraint bow ;

6 December - launched the second line of continuous connection tubular restraint bow ;

There is no information how a tubular restraint system works and how it will prevent the fore ship to move or to drop off the wreck. All work was to be completed by 8 December! Evidently it is not a great problem, if the forward (or aft) end of the wreck drops off at or before re-floating. The forward end will sink to 50-60 meters depth and could be just left there!

Source This big piece of steel is part of the tubular restraint system to prevent the fore ship from moving

More pictures of the installation of the tubular restraint system to prevent the fore ship from moving provided by the Salvors. You wonder how one or two floating lines or tubes (?) along the wreck can retain the moving fore ship in place. Regardless - the restraint systems were removed 5-11 April, 2014 and the wreck is now free to move again due to wave and wind forces

 

 

36. What happens end June 2014 (18 December 2013)

On 18 December 2013 most of the people and ships that worked on the M/S Costa Concordia were gone. Reason was that little salvage work will happen at Isola del Giglio until April, 2014.

John/Giovanni Zardoni of the Salvors T/M advised 18 December 2013:

"In mid-April, probably around 20 (April 2014) to be statistically sure to have a wide time window of favorable weather and sea conditions, we will begin the delicate process of installation of the 15 boxes on the right side that are almost ready and will arrive from Livorno already vertical position to facilitate the operation. After the attachment of the caissons, the buoyancy of the ship could be done in a week or two, and then allow the immediate towing of the wreck at a port or near the point of intersection with the Vanguard for berthing in ports further away, also abroad. ...

The release a few days ago on the official website is perhaps most clearly: "It is done today the island of Giglio regular meeting with the local population to provide an update on the progress of the project to remove the wreck of the Concordia in the presence of Mary Sargentini, president dell'Osservatori, Giglio Mayor Sergio Ortelli, and the project coordinator for Costa Cruises, the Franco Porcellacchia.

The wreck is stable and after settling on the platforms, which occurred in the 15 days following the rotation of the wreck, the monitoring systems operating 24 hours 24 revealed no significant movements.

The steps for further safety measures in view of the winter season are almost completed. Final details will be finalized within the next week.

Meanwhile, in the yards of Leghorn and Genoa, work continues on the preparation of the 15 bins that will be placed on the starboard side (ground side and 4 of which remain to be positioned on the left side (sea side) in view of the refloating, with the goal of making the wreck ready to transport by the end of June 2014. The caissons will be completed in the yards with the necessary hydraulic jacks and transported to the island of Giglio spring already in the upright position and ready to be installed, thus allowing to optimize the time. The installation of caissons is scheduled for the month of April, following the completion of the restoration of the damaged starboard side of the rocks (sic).""

So the wreck's starboard side, during the winter 2013/14, will be repaired or prepared for installations of 15 buoyancy tanks and in April/May (60 days) 2014 the 19 missing sponson buoyancy tanks will be attached to the wreck (4 port side, 15 flexible ones starboard side) - (only 3 days to attach a tank!) and in June 2014 the 30 tanks + blister will be filled with air ... and the wreck will be re-floated ... at 18 meters draught. Fantastic! Shouldn't the fractured flat bottom also be ... repaired?

 

 

37. Rudders removed - a diver dies

In January 2014 it was suddenly decided to remove the two rudders of the wreck (??) underwater, which apparently are in the way for successful salvage. Why and how is not clear.

1 February 2014 a Spanish diver died during work underwater repairing the starboard side:

"The diver worked for the Spanish company UCS (Underwater Contractors Spain) and was involved in an underwater operation when the incident occurred, said an official at Titan Micoperi, the company in charge of the salvage work."

Italian media name diver as Israel Franco Moreno from La Coruña, Spain. He apparently cut himself on a piece of steel, if we can believe media, maybe trying to install a new bilge plate at frame #228. An underwater picture of the place of accident would be interesting to see, including the edge of the steel that cut him. It is apparently risky to work underwater on the damaged starboard side. The Salvors said:

TITAN is cooperating fully with the Italian authorities and is confident that this was a tragic accident without wrongdoing.

Media has not confirmed if it was an accident. Maybe it was the fault of the Master Francesco Schettino? He sank the ship killing people, it is suggested.

Only 170 persons were then at work preparing fitting the tanks April 2014. If they work 24/24 and 7/7 is not clear.

 

 

38. Activities 15-21 February 2014 at the wreck

No underwater activities at the wreck were reported mid-February 2014. Maybe all divers were watching the Olympic winter games? But the Salvors reported:

"Prevista l'installazione dei rinforzi del ginocchio della nave sulla fiancata di dritta.

Prevista inoltre la continuazione della costruzione dei bumper a bordo del relitto."

My Italian is poor and I cannot understand what the installation of reinforcement of the knee on the starboard, probably underwater, side of the ship is for. The knee appears to be the bilge (sentina in Italian), which we know is damaged at PF and PA around, and the reinforcements are big plates:

Imagine these big, bent plates being attached one way or another - how? - to the damaged, buckled, deformed and fractured bilge/knee (ginocchio) of the wreck 30 meters below water, photos of which are not available.

It seems to be a big money making joke.

Repairing/reinforcing a wreck 30 meters underwater!

Of course the plates shall just prevent chains and wires below the hull to slice the hull structure apart ... but anyhow.

And what can the continuation of the construction of a bumper on board the wreck be about?

 

 

39. The bumper

It seems the bumper is multiple steel beams with external flat noses fitted on the very thin deck #7 (and #8?) just above waterline in the deck house today, so that something - a tug - may contact them from outside and push the wreck - see photos right.

After re-floating the bumper will be another 12 meters above waterline, i.e. high up in the air and inboard of the sponson tanks below ... and you wonder what will bump against the wreck there. The bumper will probably only be used immediately after lift off so tugs may push the floating wreck somewhere at 29.99 meters draught.

The Costa Concordia re-floating is quite complex.

 

 

40. The big lift off and re-floating show - final difficulties, risks and surprises to consider at this stage

Re-floating is in theory easy - just add buoyancy to the wreck and it floats up. It will be done by filling the 30 sponsons and the blister with compressed air.

In July 2014, the 30 sponsons on port and starboard outside, the port tanks attached 12-30 meters below water, while the starboard ones are floating below water with their tops at 12 meters depth and just moored to the wreck, will be filled with ~47.000 m3 of air that is injected at ~2.5 bar pressure at the top to force water out from the bottom of the sponsons at 30 meters depth to reach lift off.

Buoyancy is then provided and ... voilà - summer 2014 ... more than a year late ... the ~47.000 tons wreck (45 500 tons minus 10 000 tons buoyancy) + sponsons (11 500 tons - quite heavy), will first lift off and later float up 12 meters to ~18 meters draught.

Or as the Salvors say themselves:

On completion of the emptying (sic - air filling) process, a section (sic) of about 18 m will remain submerged.

The 'section' is evidently the water filled hull, superstructure and part of the deck house of the wreck. Why not use proper terms? 

What will actually happen during re-floating is explained below.

9 December 2013 three wires were connected between shore and M/S Costa Concordia fore ship to prevent (?) motions. It looks as if the fore ship may drop off any moment! It is the fault of the Master, no doubt

 

 

41. When the wreck lifts off at 29.99 meters draught ... will it drift away ... or break apart? (6 December 2013)

Each of the 30 sponsons and the blister tank forward is fitted with a remote control compressed air filling system/valves and a remote control sponson discharge system/valves. The Salvors call it a ballast (sic) system but it is in fact a buoyancy system. In addition each tank is fitted with a system to indicate the amount of buoyancy air inside the tank with remote read-out at some control station away from or on the wreck, so the Salvors know much buoyancy/air is added ... and where. The control panels of the system are shown left and below. It seems each tank has its own control panel fitted on the wreck. Very bad! Control must be remote!

It is assumed that the compressed air is supplied by electric (or diesel) driven compressors put on the wreck, capacity, say 300 m3/hour. Electric power is already provided via a cable from shore used by the crane and for lighting. The risk that the wreck breaks apart and that the compressed air and sponsons valve control systems are deactivated must be considered ... how?

 

 

42. - 47 000 m3 buoyancy for lift off

When you have filled, say, about 47 000 m3 of the 30 buoyancy tanks and the blister with air at ~2.5 bar pressure (it takes 157 hours or 6.5 day and the tanks are still not 100% full with air), the wreck lifts off from the port side platforms (the port side supporting beams have been removed) and from the starboard side rocky sea floor and starts to float at, say, 29.99 meters draught. Lift off!


The buoyancy forces must be applied uniformly forward/aft/port/starboard to avoid excessive trim and heel and imposed forces/moments. The floating wreck is then subject to buoyancy (~47 000 tons), wave, current and wind forces ... and must be held in location by tugs not to drift away or up on the shore. And there apparently the bumpers come in. As already stated several times above the reason that wreck is floating at 29.99 meters draught is that the submerged mass of the wreck at ~30 meters draught is ~47
.000 tons. Archimedes, you know. The wreck with sponsons is like a submarine resting on the bottom that has just filled its flotation tanks with air to lift off from the sea bed. The wreck will probably heel as the buoyancy forces are applied asymmetrically port (in the vertical side) and starboard (at the rounded bilge) so you have to adjust the buoyancy applied accordingly.

Only buoyancy forces now support the ends of the wreck forward of PF and aft of PA and the midship part P in between. The buoyancy forces must be applied uniformly to keep bending moments and shear forces in the wreck's damaged structure low and to minimize trimming and heeling. The port buoyancy forces are applied at the welded sponson connections in the side and stresses there are low. The starboard buoyancy forces are applied to the thin but hopefully reinforced by doublers plate at the 56 points of chain contact low down at the bilge and local stresses there are high. It would appear the floating wreck will heel due to asymmetric application of buoyancy forces, which must be adjusted accordingly.

As the wreck's hull bottom and side structures at PF and PA are damaged (and not really seriously repaired), it is a possibility that wreck flat bottom and bilge fractures at PF and PA and that the ends simply drop off and the compressed air system stops working. The aft fractures may be between sponsons #13 and #14 and the forward ones between sponsons #3 and #4.

At lift off the ends will first trim up or down relative the midbody, unless the buoyancy applied to the ends perfectly balances the masses but wave forces will play their tricks.

The structural fracture, crack or buckle develops very fast and will be heard as a big bang. The deck house structure is only 4-5 mm plates that are easily ripped apart. The superstructure is a little stronger, 6 mm plates. The hull is not much stronger and the hull plates are easily ripped apart, if fractured. The damaged sections will then trim and displace vertically and find a new equilibrium, e.g. one end drops off.

 

 

43. The wreck sags and hogs ... under water

If too much buoyancy is applied to the ends, they will flip up at their extreme ends and any fracture in the flat bottom will widen. The wreck is sagging! Structural fractures in the flat bottom may then extend up the sides and the ends will break off. If too little buoyancy is applied to the ends, they will flip down at their extreme ends and push against the bottom structure. The top of the deck house comes under tension and may fracture. The wreck is hogging. The ends drop off!


Many intact ships have broken into two due to incorrect loading overstressing the hull. The Costa Concordia is a seriously damaged wreck being loaded with buoyancy under water. It may easily break apart at lift off.

The buoyancy applied to the midbody must also perfectly balance the local masses there. If not the midbody will apply bending and shear to the ends and the midbody will trim relative the ends.


The wreck may then suddenly be in three parts to be handled by assisting tugs. You can evidently re-sink the parts again and hope that they will land on the platforms and rock below ... if the compressed air, sounding and valve control systems are still working.

We will see.

It is assumed that the tugs will connect to the forward #1P+#1S and aft #15P+#15S buoyancy tanks' parts above water, so these tanks must be properly connected to the floating wreck. But you can also push at the bumper locations.

In principle or theory it is possible to tow the floating wreck, full of water of course, away now ... at 29.99 meters draught, unless it breaks into three parts.

The tugs must not only hold the wreck and 30 sponsons, mass 45 500 + 11 500 tons, in place but also the mass of water, say 170.000 tons, inside the wreck at 29.99 meters draught providing 10 000 tons of buoyancy.

But you can evidently raise or re-float the wreck more by adding more buoyancy, i.e. add more air in the sponsons to compensate for buoyancy lost coming above waterline in the process. 

Everything will be Ok because every step of lift off and re-floating is subject to authorization by competent Italian authorities!

 

 

44. Only 4 000 m3 of extra buoyancy required to raise the wreck to 18 meters draught after lift off

When more, ~4 000 m3 air at initially ~2.5 bar pressure is added as buoyancy, the floating wreck will rise more and more out of water and the draught be further reduced - 12 meters - from 30 or 29.99 to 18 meters draught ... unless the ends drop off, when the midship part will float higher. The ~4 000 m3 extra buoyancy must also be applied so that you do not produce bending moments and shear forces and tension in the flat bottom or top of the deckhouse causing fractures that will break off the ends. You must also reduce the pressure in the sponsons, when wreck rises and draught is reduced.

The bumpers are at the end of operation 12 meter higher up above water! The tugs cannot reach them.

The buoyancy provided by the submerged (12 meters) part of the deck house is thus reduced and, if the buoyancy of 12 meters deck house corresponds to about 4.000 m3, you will start to float at 29.99 meters draught, when ~47 000 tons of water has been pushed out of the buoyancy tanks = lift off. When another 4.000 m3 have been pushed out using initially ~2.5 bar compressed air pressure, the draught of the floating wreck will be ~18 meters and the air pressure in the sponsons ~1.7 bar. The bumpers will be 12 meters above water. Evidently air buoyancy must be added uniformly to avoid the wreck to trim and heel and to be subject to excessive forces and moments. Don't forget to reduce the air pressure in the sponsons, when they float up, to avoid overpressure, etc. To control a fully submerged sponson attached to a floating wreck with a part above water is very complex and the ensure safety is extremely difficult.

The below picture illustrates how 4 000 tons of buoyancy provided by 12 meters submerged deckhouse disappears (!) after lift off until complete re-floating and that 4 000 tons extra buoyancy in the form of compressed air at reduced pressure is required inside the sponsons. Reason, why the buoyancy disappears from the wreck, is that it comes above water at re-floating.

Detailed but simple calculations by the Salvors will ensure more accurate data for successful lift off and re-floating operations and hopefully mainstream media will publish them ahead of real action. I assume the air inside the sponsons will expand by itself, when the wreck rises after lift off and when the sea water pressure at the bottom of the sponsons is reduced from ~2.5 to ~1.7 bar, so you have to be extremely careful after lift off. The Salvors are strongly recommended to ask some submarine officers how to go about it. Submarines sometimes float up too fast, when too much compressed air is injected too fast in their buoyancy tanks replacing water ... and the sub can rise at great speed hitting boats on the surface. It seems the software and IT systems for lift off and re-floating shall be ready 20 June, 2014 (salvage work item # 777).

It is recommended that the static shear forces and bending moment at PF and PA are zero during re-floating ... to reduce the risk of wreck breaking apart. Of course it is not a big deal if the ends drop off! They may capsize, roll forward or aft or drift away and can maybe be recovered later. Nobody can be aboard the wreck at lift off and re-floating due to the risk of wreck breaking apart and the control systems stopping to function.

Another 12.0 meters of the wreck deck house, about four decks, will become visible above water during the re-floating. It is full of rotten and stinking furniture, carpets, shit, etc. 100 000 tons of water in the deck house flows out.

It may look and smell impressive. And when? July 2014! It will be a very slow process.

~18 meters of wreck deck house, superstructure and hull will still remain hidden below water when the wreck is towed away but will provide some buoyancy too. The life saving appliances, LSA, embarkation deck will be visible just above the tops of the sponson caissons.

The big question is evidently from a naval architect's point of view, if the damaged wreck is strong enough at PF and PA to be re-floated and towed at all. Maybe the ends will simply drop off?


Remember that parbuckling applied great local forces on the starboard bilge at
PF and PA and that the bottom/bilge structure was fractured due to them.

So let's repeat: ~47 000 m3 buoyancy compressed air at ~2.5 bar applied 30 meters underwater into the sponsons (the tops of the 22 midship sponsons #3-13 are 12 meters below water at start of operations) are required for lift off at 29.99 meters draught and another ~4 000 m3 buoyancy air, at less pressure, for raising the wreck 12 meters to 18 meters draught, so we can see 12 meters of deck house full of shit above water.

It seems the sponsons buoyancy system (excluding the blister) have total capacity ~64 000 m3 so, if 20% becomes unavailable for any reason, e.g. leakages compressed air or valve failures, there will be no re-floating at all.

The compressed air must also be injected to (i) keep the wreck even trim and (ii) balance local weights to keep bending down all the time, so full buoyancy capacity cannot be used. Some sponsons will contain more air than others. The risk that the damaged wreck breaks into three parts cannot be ignored. It appears very complex to raise the wreck with 30 sponsons and a blister below water. It should have been much simpler with floating pontoons and a cradle below the wreck. And that was actually done July 2014. Sponsons #S1, S2, S4-S12, S14 and S15 were floating as pontoons with their tops above water and the lifting force was applied by pulling in the chains.

 

 

45. Removal of the starboard stabilizer fin

You may recall that the port stabilizer fin was seen sticking out up in the air of the sunken wreck January 2012. It was later cut off. The starboard stabilizer fin - 30-35 meters below water - was cut off from the wreck 16-19 April, 2014 (salvage item #626). It was not damaged at the uprighting, i.e. there was no sea floor there, when ship capsized and sank 14 January, 2012, but must apparently be removed now to enable re-floating, etc.

 

 

46. Nick believes the wreck will rise 22 meters and float at 8 meters draught

If I understand correctly, the submerged wreck resting on bottom at 30 meters depth can only rise 12 meters by adding ~51 000 m3 of buoyancy (air) to it. And no lift off happens before ~47 000 m3 of buoyancy have been added, as that corresponds to the mass 47 000 tons of the submerged wreck below water at 30 meters draught (adjusted for buoyancy of the submerged part).

However Nick Sloane, big chief of the Salvors beach combers, thinks I am wrong and stated September 17, 2013, that the following will happen, when air replaces water in the sponson buoyancy tanks and produces buoyancy:  

"Only then can the engineers (read beach combers) refloat the ship, which is now sunken in 30 meters of water. The giant vessel (read wreck!) will rise up 22 meters from its current position, in a procedure that should be at least as spectacular as the parbuckling was. Securing the ship's underbelly (? sic) will then take three more weeks, meaning it will finally be towed away sometime next summer."

Evidently the giant wreck will not float at 8 meters draught as suggested by Nick. If that were the case, you could go aboard, close all illegal watertight doors under water, pump out the intact hull compartments and the wreck would float by itself.

The wreck can only be raised about 12 meters and float at about 18 meters draught, because that's where the tops of the attached sponsons are. Regarding three more weeks securing the floating wreck's underbelly - the flat bottom - little can be done, so you wonder what Nick is on about. Why can't he use proper nautical and shipbuilding terms?

In order to raise the wreck to float at 8 meters draught >60 000 m3 of buoyancy in the shape of sponsons must be attached to the hull below 8 meters draught. The sponsons must then be only 8 meters tall and much wider, which is not the case at present. If floating pontoons were used it would, on the other hand, be possible to raise the wreck at 8 meters draught.

There will not be any spectacular show ... unless the ends drop off! The wreck can only rise about 12 meters. Not 22 meters. If you fit the sponsons 10 meters lower down at the side, you may raise the wreck a little more.

The 30 sponson or external buoyancy tanks will at any draught just apply buoyancy forces as shear to the wreck via the connections tanks/wreck (welding port, chains/wires starboard - on the starboard bilge) and, as they are fairly uniformly applied, the wreck is subject to little bending and additional shear. The sponson tanks do not provide any strength to the structurally damaged wreck. Only buoyancy.

After re-floating and during towing and subject to wave loads a crack or fracture in the damaged hull side and bottom - underbelly (ouff) - may develop and ... the vessel breaks into two or more parts.

If the tugs are only connected to the ends that drop off, the mid part may drift away on its own.

Hopefully all the parts will still float on the sponson tanks.

You cannot secure any underbelly (sic), when the wreck is floating. At any draught.

It appears that re-floating applying external buoyancy forces below water is complex and full of risks and surprises that Nick Sloane has not really understood.

I really look forward to summer 2014 to see how this stupid salvage attempt will end in a fiasco. Reason is only to explain why the ship capsized and sank in the first place. The ship was not seaworthy with illegal watertight doors. People left aboard drowned, as there was no enough trained crew aboard to launch all lifeboats and life rafts to bring everybody to safety.

It would have been easier to create the lift force via pontoons on the surface and apply it via a cradle fitted below the wreck ... but that chance is long gone.

 

 

47. Towage starts - where to?

The floating wreck hull, superstructure and deck house below water are still full of water of course and the next question is, if the wreck can be towed away ... and carefully inspected by marine casualty investigators. Towed away? Where? Carefully inspected? How? The wreck is full of water!

Before towing away you have to remove the electric shore connection. As the towed vessel must be illuminated, an onboard power pack is needed unless oil lights are used.

Evidently about 100 000 m3 of water that was trapped inside the submerged deck house (it has risen 12 meters out of the water) escape into the sea while re-floating from 30 to 18 meters draught. The total mass of wreck and remaining water inside is then, say, of the order ~127.000 tons. To move it and the wreck itself you need a fair number of strong tugs.

The tugs must not only tow the wreck (45 500 tons) and empty sponsons (11 500 tons) but also the water (~70 000 tons) inside the wreck that provides about 6 000 tons of buoyancy. If a tow wire breaks or the sponson to which the tow wire is connected breaks off, you are in trouble. How to re-establish the tow? Maybe the wreck will drift away on its own as a danger for other ships. Will the tow be insured?

The wreck cannot be anchored somewhere because it does not have any anchors. It can hardly be moored anywhere as it lacks mooring equipment and needs a pier with 18 meters depth. So the wreck will be towed ... and towed ... somewhere. Do not ask me where. Ask the ship owner what the plans are. And what towage company shall be used. It is suggested that the Genova Voltri container port will be used for the scrapping; the wreck will occupy one or two berths (of five), so the capacity of the port will be reduced. The cranes must also be modified to handle the scrap. The draught in the port is only 15 meters so it must also be increased.

You can evidently position the towed wreck in an area with a flat seafloor at depth, say 20 meters and re-sink it there - let out air from the sponsons - and the wreck will rest on the seafloor again. With 20 meters of hull, superstructure and deck house below water.

 

 

48. The Dockwise Vanguard solution to transport away the re-floated but still damaged wreck

The Salvors still thought October 2013 that they could, apart from four extra port tanks, actually attach 15 flexible sponson caissons underwater on the damaged/repaired starboard side and then re-float the wreck with beam B = ~65 meters, so it will have draught d = ~15.4 meters after re-float something like:

The green line is the present waterline of the wreck at 30 meters draught. The blue line at the embarkation deck level is the waterline at 18 meters draught at top of sponsons #4-15. To reduce draught further, to e.g. 15.4 meters draught, more buoyancy has to be added below water. Evidently only buoyancy fully below water is effective.

In order to do so another 2.6 meters of wreck (one more deck) has to be lifted upwards above sea level than previously planned by ship owner and/or Salvors, i.e. extra buoyancy (only of the order 1 000 m3 + the already added buoyancy lost/coming above waterline or 8.000 m3) has to be provided one way or another 2.6 meters further down the side below water, i.e. more or larger (more beam) sponson caisson tanks be fitted lower down.

 

The Dockwise Vanguard solution animation thinks the M/S Costa Concordia wreck floats high with draught <15.4 meters with most of its sponson caisson buoyancy tanks at the sides above (?) water - in reality only the below water parts of the sponsons provide buoyancy. But maybe the vessel can float at 15.4 meters draught?

So instead of towing away the water filled vessel using tugs the US$ 30 M Dockwise Vanguard solution may be considered. M/S Dockwise Vanguard is a ship that can be submerged 15.5 meters and slip below the M/S Costa Concordia total mass >57 000 tons ... after it having been re-floated completely and lost all its inherent buoyancy and shifted away from the platforms by say, at least six tugs to an area with depth >35 meters ... and lift it completely out of water while emptying the hull of all water and transport it away somewhere.

M/S Costa Concordia wreck carried by M/S Dockwise Vanguard 2014 ... maybe

The beauty with this very complex solution is that the whole hull of the wreck will be temporarily emptied of water and be dry, so incident investigators can have, e.g. a look at the hull damaged starboard side at
PF and PA of the bilge, the 25 illegal watertight doors inside the hull kept open 13/14 January 2012 producing progressive flooding and capsize, the 60+ life rafts not having been used 13 January, 2012, etc, etc.

All water incl. liquid pollution of any kind in the hull - 70 000 tons - will just flow out via the openings port and starboard in the damaged hull or has to be pumped out. You wonder if the competent authorities have thought about it.

On 10 October, 2013, Dockwise, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis), the owners of Dockwise Vanguard, announced that they had been awarded a contract to transport the wreck - after re-floating and shifting to a suitable location - somewhere - destination unknown - for demolition. It will take place autumn 2014. The Dockwise Vanguard is booked by wreck owner Costa Crociere SpA for the months of September and October, 2014. The port of destination of the wreck is evidently the responsibility of the wreck owner

Evidently, when you unload the wreck from Dockwise Vanguard, the wreck hull, superstructure and deck house up to the embarkation deck level will be up flooded with water again through the port side damage and float on the sponsons port and starboard at ~15-18 meters draught.

 

 

49. Why wasn't the port side hull repaired and the starboard side bilge reinforced prior up righting?

Had the M/S Costa Concordia 36.5 meters long, port side, shell damage been repaired watertight before up-righting September 2013 - a simple job as it was all above water then - the ship could float normally again at <9 meters draught after being pumped dry on the Dockwise Vanguard autumn 2014.

Media should really have asked why the accidental contact port side hull damage was not repaired watertight, when it was above water 14 January 2012 to 15 September 2013.

The wreck was evidently further hull damaged starboard side at PF and PA of the bilge, when parbuckled upright September 2013 took place. It could have been avoided by fitting plenty doubler plates/reinforcements there at 30 meters depth before uprighting but it wasn't done. So the Salvors try repairing starboard side at PF and PA of the bilge after up-righting, but can it be done?

The more you think about it, the more incompetent and badly planned the Salvors' efforts appear to be. Evidently M/S Costa Concordia hull can be repaired watertight, when it is loaded on the Dockwise Vanguard, but it will take some time.

 

 

 

50. The simpler, less costly method to refloat the uprighted wreck (20 September 2013)

By using a 30 000 dwt oil tanker (or pontoon) and the existing pull chains already attached on port side as a cradle below the wreck you could easily replace the 15 starboard sponson tanks and refloat the wreck in a couple of weeks.

The tanker would be moored against the wreck starboard side protected by some Yokohama fenders and the pull chains already in place put over the deck (to be suitably reinforced) by a crane. By ballasting/deballasting the tanker and adjusting the pull chains as required on the deck you get the 30 000 tons buoyancy required on the starboard side of the wreck to refloat say just one meter above the platforms/sea floor.

The other ~30 000 tons buoyancy is evidently provided by the port side sponsons. They could also have been replaced by one 30 000 dwt pontoon. The port tanks were not really required for uprighting. Then you just tow away the wreck somewhere or sink it! But this method would save plenty money and time and was thus not acceptable. The risk that the wreck will break into several parts due wave loads is not reduced but the parts will not drift apart because they are attached to the tanker via the pull chains below the bottom.

A 30 000 dwt tanker moored to the starboard side can easily replace 15 sponson tanks attached under water

You can probably buy a 20 years old 30 000 dwt tanker for $3M, use it to salvage M/S Costa Concordia, as outlined above, and later sell the tanker for scrap. And this method was actually used in July 2014 by the Salvors. They used their expensive sponsons #S4-S12 that could be submerged 12 meters as simple, always floating pontoons and applied the required lift force by pulling in the chains.

 

 

51. Staggering costs

Original (2012) salvage cost was say ~ US$ 300 million or 3/5 the value of the ship and all work should have been completed May 2013.

According one of the re-insurance companies, Bermuda based Validus (and Tradewinds - August 2013) the total cost (total loss + salvage) may reach U$ 2 000 million half or US$ 917 million of which shall pay the costs of Titan/Micoperi salvage efforts. Project was always delayed. And the expensive parbuckling progress was badly reported! Why does it cost so much? And will it really work in the end? It seems you destroy both the sea floor and the coral reefs and the ship's starboard bilge in the process. End July 2013 the Salvors said project was 72% complete (since removed from the web site) but the wreck was still half sunk on its side, 5 caissons were still to be fitted on the port side and no caissons had been fitted on the starboard side. And no parbuckling or refloating has been attempted.

My estimate is that the project was only 50% complete on 15 September 2013. The uprighting the next day evidently damaged the wreck hull but we have no details. If the 15 starboard caissons then can be attached to the damaged wreck underwater winter 2013/2014, the wreck could maybe be towed away earliest summer 2014 or more than a year late. And the final cost may be $ 2.000 million as suggested by Validus. For a ship that was unseaworthy before accidentally contacting a little rock, capsizing and sinking three hours later with probably invalid insurance.

You wonder what kind of contract was signed by ship owner and Salvors and why the ship owner still pays, when it seems Salvors Titan-Micoperi do not perform.

 

 

52. Optimistic officials - September 2013 - No cure, no pay

Franco Gabrielli, the head of Italy's civil protection agency, had told reporters 28 February 2013 that officials were looking at September 2013 as the probable date to remove (!) the ship, taking into account conservative estimates for poor weather and rough seas. Originally, officials had said they hoped to tow it from Giglio's waters by early 2013. It seems Gabrielli was very, extremely optimistic ... or didn't know what he was talking about.

In addition, Gabrielli and Costa officials said the cost might now reach US$530 million, up from the US$400 million (?) originally estimated. It seems they are only one year and $ 517 million wrong. But maybe all money figures are just propaganda, like everything else reported by media?

"The huge hulk of the Costa Concordia wreck looms over the tourist island of Giglio where it has been since January 2012, and islanders are adamant to see it gone by the end of 2014".

The islanders are also optimistic! Wreck gone by the end of 2014?

"There is no business like wreck shove business I know."

Haven't I heard this song before? And stupid underwriters and re-insurance pay for it. Normally salvage/recovery is on a no cure, no pay basis. Here underwriters and re-insurance apparently pay for all salvage follies of the ship owner, when they shouldn't have paid a cent from beginning. The ship was not seaworthy and the ship owners knew it. Thus it was illegal to insure the ship. You cannot insure an unsafe, not seaworthy ship. But of course ... you can play stupid and try to blame the Master. Only not very intelligent ship owners do such things.

The wreck will probably be at Giglio island autumn 2014, while Salvors are trying to attach the 15 starboard sponson tanks to it. Money has to be made and delay is a good way for a dishonest ship owner. But I hope underwriters/reinsurance will not support the ship owner in this case much longer. We will see.

The 290 meters long and 55 meters wide wreck full of water with empty sponson caisson tanks on the outsides but with draught 18 meters (!) - the wreck is finally floating again - will maybe 2015 (?) be towed to Piombino port on the mainland. Maybe Titan-Micoperi will just return the damaged wreck full of water to the ship owner? If they are paid at all?

It is never too late to wonder how pump empty the wreck between the sponsons. Can it be done at Piombino? Will it ever be done? This is Italy!

In order to handle the wreck at Piombino a pier and a 370 meters long quay have to be built adjacent to a 80 000 m² working area to be arranged accordingly. The depth outside the new quay must be dredged to 20 meters. It appears these works have not started (April 2014). Maybe the wreck will be towed to Palermo or Genoa instead? It seems a decision has been made not to allow the wreck to leave Italy.In July 2014 it was decided to tow the wreck to Genoa.

Finally 17 000 tons of cement grouting sacks and the steel platforms have to removed at Isola del Giglio. That should be easy. You just pull them up. But the complete wreck above must be gone! Do not forget that. ...

 

 

53. Re-planting corals 2016!

And then corals, algae and sea weed are to be re-planted so that the fish and tourists will be happy again. Do not ask me how to re-plant corals! It may take place 2016.

28 November 2014 a contract was signed between Costa and Micoperi to clean the sea floor of the wreckage - the 17 000 tons (? - probably much more!) of 1 396 grating bags full of cement shall be lifted up and disposed of during 2015. Costa shall pay 85 million for this work. If the six platforms shall be raised, put on barges and towed away somewhere is still under discussion. Divers can also visit the two rocky coral reef outreaches PF and PA of the sea floor crushed by the wreck at parbuckling, when re-planting the corals.

 

 

54. Alternative solutions and no examination of the wreck!

The simpler, much faster, much safer, much more environment friendly and much less expensive salvage method using conventional well known means, of course at a grand scale - to repair the port hull and superstructure side watertight and to (1) lift the heeling wreck off the rocks with six external pontoons (e.g. 9 000 dwt each) and steel/nylon/net cradles and put it in a less exposed area with flat, soft (sandy) sea floor and (2) upright the wreck there and (3) move it, using the same pontoons/cradles, to another area with less depth where the bulkhead deck is above water and then (4) to pump out intact watertight compartments of the hull, so the damaged vessel floats again by itself, seems not to have been considered.

The reason for this is clear. The salvage method chosen would delay the rising of the wreck and partly destroy the hull while parbuckling so that the wreck then can be completely destroyed.

A man ashore at Genoa (I had his job for many years in another company) that, doing his job, tried to assist the Captain by phone to evaluate the situation after the first incident 13 January, 2012, - evacuate - was 20 July, 2013, sentenced to 34 months in prison ... for having delayed evacuation ... and killing 32 people 14 January, 2012. This is ship owner's directors' justice! Blame the underlings and destroy the evidence of an unseaworthy ship. Imagine if it had happened to me.


So it appears that the wreck, after being re-floated 2014, will not be pumped dry and not really inspected unless the Dockwise Vanguard solution is used! It will then not be established how the port side was pushed in by the strange outcrop of a granite rock producing the accidental contact. And how various hull compartments were (a) up flooded through the hull damage, (b) progressively flooded through illegal watertight door openings and (c) down flooded when the bulkhead deck was submerged, and associated losses of buoyancy and stability at every stage (a), (b) and (c) of the incident until vessel capsize and sinking the next day. And whether the ship was seaworthy at all prior the first incident. And whether the insurance incl. wreck removal cover was valid.

This case is very interesting! Like all crimes and mysteries at sea. Like this one!

I like the idea, not very friendly to the environment but anyway, I got on Isola del Giglio 13 January 2013 from a gentleman in the port:

"Evidently it would be much cheaper just to fill the wreck with cement and pour more cement on top of it and ... voilà ... a new island is created."

What name would it have? Schettino island?! What!? Captain F. Schettino didn't kill anyone! And the result was his island.

And maybe that will be done in the end. I had (September 2013) great doubts about the parbuckling. I feared the Salvors would destroy the wreck so it cannot be salvaged even with conventional means. Now, (March 2014) I still have my doubts.

Interesting case, indeed.

Maybe the best solution would have been to leave the M/S Costa Concordia wreck, where it was 14 January 2012, with funnel attached, to decay and fall apart as a tourist attraction. It would have cost nothing and been a warning to go cruising on unsafe, not seaworthy ships.

When the M/S Estonia sank 1994 the authorities headed by one (or two) Swedish prime minister(s) (in charge of investigating a ship sinking at sea?) coldly suggested that the wreck with >700's dead bodies should just be covered with cement and ... forgotten so that no proper examination or salvage could ever take place. 10 000's of relatives of dead victims were just, democratically, told to shut up. The purpose was to cover-up a state crime (the kingdom of Sweden carrying illegal cargo to be delivered to the USA on a not seaworthy Estonian flag ship with >850 innocent passengers). And the M/S Estonia accident investigators/conspirators succeeded. They created a fantasy to fool the public. Many of them are still in high positions in Sweden and Estonia instead of being in jail. Some are dead. 

 

 Go to Part 12.