11. The $ 1.5 billion wreck removal of M/S Costa Concordia 2012-2015. The water filled wreck is still only floating assisted by sponsons and can sink at any moment, if a valve leaks. The risk that the wreck breaks into three parts remain. After six months at Genoa no scrapping has really started, only bits and pieces are sold as souvenirs, but there are great plans how to dismantle the complete wreck described here
1. The Costa Concordia wreck is back at Genoa July 2014 at 18.5 meter draught - how did it arrive there and why has it become a tourist attraction. Will the wreck finally break into three parts?
Welcome to this, the most popular Heiwa Co web page (Part 11 of the Costa Concordia article and continuously updated) that explains in simple terms (i) the 30 months stay (January 2012 - July 2014) of the wreck on the rocky sea floor outside Isola del Giglio and the risks of breaking apart, (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 became visible above water, (iv) the towing away, (v) the future scrapping and (vi) the possible re-sinking of the M/S Costa Concordia wreck originally owned by Costa Crociere S.p.a, Genoa, Italy, but sold to some Italian interests at sea 26 July, 2014.
Yes, you read correctly - re-sinking! It seems >100 persons/day download this page 2015!
Many visitors are guided to this page by various search engines, but you are recommended to start reading the introduction/summary of my Costa Concordia article because the whole show, not just the wreck removal show, is a scandal that goes on and on. 11 February 2015 the Master was sentenced to 16 years in jail for, i.a. sinking the ship. The ship was never seaworthy and safe with shipowner's knowledge 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. The wreck below is not safe or "seaworthy" either - it can sink any moment!
The wreck of M/S Costa Concordia arrived at Genoa Voltri July 2014 with 18.5 meter draught. The wreck is full of water!
It was reported that the wreck full of water was sold (sic) at sea 26 July 2014 at unknown price to a consortium of Saipem (Italian government oil (!) company)/San Giorgio del Porto (small local company with no experience of ship scrapping (!)), but who buys a wreck at sea that can sink any time? Maybe the unsafe wreck was not permitted to enter the port unless it was formally owned by the government/local interests? The draught was 18.5 meter.
On 27 July 2014 the water
filled and structurally damaged wreck of
Costa Concordia with sponsons attached
arrived at the Genoa Voltri container port
and moored in a corner behind a jetty. It may still
sink there again! 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
On 27 July 2014 the water filled and structurally damaged wreck of Costa Concordia with sponsons attached arrived at the Genoa Voltri container port and moored in a corner behind a jetty. It may still sink there again! 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.
"The ship (sic) was moored at a port in Genoa last month after the biggest maritime salvage (sic) operation in history."
Actually no ship is salvaged. A water filled wreck of little value has only been removed from one place to another and we haven't seen the end of the show yet. I wonder why media always report incorrectly. Do media believe that a wreck will sail away? Haven't media understood that the hull, superstructure and some parts of the deck house of the wreck are full of dirty water? Ships are never full of water and their bilges are always dry. Ships float on water! This wreck only floats assisted by sponsons port and starboard.
In the meantime the wreck has become a tourist attraction at Genoa to be looked at from the outside. 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 (July 2014) that there was no "precise schedule" for each stage of dealing with the wreck. Only in January 2015 some info was provided. But who cares? Insurances? They pay gladly and are part of the conspiracy and fraud. And media have stopped reporting about the impossible scrapping since 28 July 2014. Not a word! Media informed that the wreck had been sold to local interests for scrapping but who would buy a wreck of negative value full of rotten and decaying material? Local interests? As Antonio Di Pietro has said and demonstrated several times that it is a fact that Italy is corrupt to the core and it costs very little to arrange anything by just paying the right people. Genoa is just part of that scene. What is seen 2014 at Genoa Voltri port and what will be seen 2015 are just the latest acts of the Costa Crociere S.p.a, Genoa, Italy, Costa Concordia show.
The Genoa port authority has therefore on 18 October 2014 declared that the water filled wreck and empty sponsons, total mass about 60.000 tons kept floating by sponsons at 18.5 meter draught is "safe" and that demolition can start by emptying the humid, cold, slippery deck house above water by removing say ~15.000 tons of furniture and fittings (it is a lot!) in it 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 containers and barges. It is all fantasy of course, nobody cares about the Genoa port authority and media report the nonsense and then do nothing. Scrapping a wreck full of water! It is a joke.
The total mass of wreck and sponsons at say 18.5 meter draught is about 60 000 tons. The submerged parts of the water filled wreck provides about 9 000 tons of buoyancy, while the submerged parts of the empty sponsons provide 51 000 tons of buoyancy. By removing 15 000 tons of material from the deck house wreck above water, the wreck with mass about 45 000 tons floats up to a new equilibrium at say 13.5 meters draught, where the submerged parts of the wreck provide about 7 000 tons of buoyancy and the submerged but empty sponsons 38 000 tons of buoyancy. Or something like it. I haven't got the hydrostatic data of the wreck + sponsons. It is not easy to reduce the draught of a water filled wreck by removing weights (mass) from the top, though.
Can anybody really remove 100 tons/day of scrap from the top of a wreck kept floating by sponsons? The hull of the wreck is full of dirty water and moored in a remote, exposed location subject to wind and rain - like a deserted island. The loction is not suitable as a scrap yard. Who is paying for this comedy? What kind of Italian workers will accept to work there and under what conditions? Are they "safe"? How many are they and what are they paid? Is the wreck insured? What happens if anything goes wrong?
And can Italian demolition
workers' safety and wellfare be assured? Has
Italian labour authorities approved the work site
as "safe"? Are there toilets and rest rooms
available? Etc. It seems some workers sell
pieces of the wreck as souvenirs to make
ends meet. I doubt very much that
tons of worthless furniture (old beds,
mattresses, chairs, tables, TV-sets, etc.) and
fittings (bathrooms, wall and ceiling panels,
carpets, doors, electric cables, etc.) can be cut
off, moved to containers below the crane and then
loaded on barges to be transported ashore to
another location in the Genoa Voltri container port
- for re-cycling! - in six months. Of course some
work has apparently started - 220 persons
are reportedly at work on decks #4, 5, 6 and 7 -
but we do not know how long it will last.
We will have to await the
developments. I think the wreck will remain,
where it is until 2016 at least ... unless it sinks
And can Italian demolition workers' safety and wellfare be assured? Has Italian labour authorities approved the work site as "safe"? Are there toilets and rest rooms available? Etc.
It seems some workers sell pieces of the wreck as souvenirs to make ends meet.
I doubt very much that 15.000 tons of worthless furniture (old beds, mattresses, chairs, tables, TV-sets, etc.) and fittings (bathrooms, wall and ceiling panels, carpets, doors, electric cables, etc.) can be cut off, moved to containers below the crane and then loaded on barges to be transported ashore to another location in the Genoa Voltri container port - for re-cycling! - in six months. Of course some work has apparently started - 220 persons are reportedly at work on decks #4, 5, 6 and 7 - but we do not know how long it will last.
We will have to await the developments. I think the wreck will remain, where it is until 2016 at least ... unless it sinks again.
Photo Anders Björkman
There are four phases of the Costa Concordia wreck scrapping and final removal:
Phase 1: Stripping - the easy part
The first phase involves the stripping and removal of the furnishings and fittings, i.e. the complete cabins of the deck house above water. It is quite simple. No real hot work or cutting. The objective is to reduce the draft of the wreck apparently to from 18.5 to 13.5 meter. It is now estimated that about 8,000 to 10,000 tons (why not 15.000 tons?) of material need to be removed. Phase 1 is expected to be completed in the first few months of 2015 (possibly March 2015).
It appears that this phase is already late. Evidently 200 persons cannot remove 500 kg/day/person or 100 tons/day like that, so maybe during the summer we will see ... about two decks full of rotten shit previously submerged will float up above water. Who pays how much is not known. The value of the scrap is zero.
Phase 2: Towage to the "Molo Ex Superbacino" jetty, dismantling of the steel deck house decks #2-14 and transfer of sponsons control equipment
Once the Costa Concordia wreck reaches a required draught (not known - say 13.5 meter), it will be towed to the "Molo Ex Superbacino" jetty. The steel of the deck house (with mass say 15 000 tons steel) shall there be cut - hot work - into smaller parts and removed to the jetty for disposal somewhere. The compressors and equipment to control valves for the air in the sponsons installed on top of the deck house are transferred somewhere else.
During the towage there is a great opportunity to re-sink the Costa Concordia wreck to avoid further work. The Costa Concordia wreck could be sunk beside the tanker wreck M/T Haven outside Genoa.
Phase 3: Making the hull watertight enabling removal of 30 sponsons and towage to dry dock
The objective of Phase 3 is to create buoyancy by making several of the water filled wreck hull compartments watertight and then pumping out some water to maintain or reduce draught of the hull further. By doing so, the Consortium says it will be able to remove the 30 sponsons (mass say 15 000 tons - also to be scrapped but somewhere else) attached outside by welding (port) and chains (starboard) before towing the wreck to dry dock no. 4, where final dismantling will take place.
The water filled hull/superstructure may have a mass of say 15 000 tons, which are kept floating by 30 sponsons, i.e. each sponson now provides only 500 tons buoyancy to keep the wreck floating. The draught is maybe 8-9 meter. The wreck underwater hull is however severely, structurally damaged after capsize and parbuckling at bottom and starboard bilge areas PA and PF and port side aft (see below for details) and spending three winters on the rocks at Isola del Giglio. We have never seen any pictures of the underwater hull. It is possible that the hull will break into three parts now unless it happened already at phase 2 alongside the jetty, when the deck house, providing longitudinal strength, is removed. The bulkhead deck on top of the hull is thin and not very strong; the aft and fore ends flip one way and the middle part another way, when the hull plates buckle and fracture vertically, etc. I assume the poop and focsle of the deck house remain, fittings of which are to be used for final towage. Evidently, the wreck may break apart and sink during the final tow to dry dock too ... and block the Genoa port bassin!
Phase 4: Final dismantling in dry dock
Final dismantling operations are to take place in dry dock no. 4 at Genoa. The complete cutting up - plenty hot work - of the 15.000 tons hull and superstructure, including the removal of all interior fittings on three, four remaining deck decks, engines, pumps, fuel tanks, the clean-up of additional areas, etc, will take place.
The draught may now be about 8-9 meter. When the wreck hull is in drydock and the drydock is pumped dry 2016, we will finally see the wreck underwater hull out of water. Remaining polluted water in the hull will finally flow out. Then we can see, if what is said to have happened really happened 2012. Did the Master really run his ship on a rock as alleged ripping open the aft port side to sink it, killing people and then run away? The 25 illegal watertight doors can also be inspected. The value of the scrap steel is known but does not pay the costs.
This vital event will probably take place summer 2016 ... if ever ... or 2018. Total demolition/scrapping is planned to take 22 months and be completed August 2016 we are told. But maybe the whole piece of junk will be subject to re-sinking 2015 to stop the money flow? Or it will be completed 2018 at double cost! Money, money, money generously spent!
You really wonder what people make up these fantasies about removal and scrapping and why media just print them. Can't media ask intelligent questions and report correctly about this very complex and dangerous project? Who is paying for it? Italian tax payers? Insurance? Can it be done safely? Who is responsible?
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 wont
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 ship owner, 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. 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!
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 ship owner, 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.
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!
In order to assist the reader to understand the basics of wreck removal some definitions of words used in this article are given:
(*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., Genoa, 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 salvage 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.
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
but no decision is taken. On 26 March 2014
it was announced that the public was to be told
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 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?
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 was resting on some underwater platforms, maybe. We do not know, if the platforms were aligned. And only 10% of the starboard, flat bottom was 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, was not resting on anything! It could fall off any time! The wreck may break into three parts at re-floating. At present the wreck was 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 December 2014 the job was evidently still not finished. The wreck was 18 meters draught full of water at Genoa, where it can sink again at any moment.
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 was personally just curious to find out that the damaged wreck did not break apart at lift off and, if the final decision may be was re-sinking? Was 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
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
off from the sea bed and
then be re-floated 12 meters and
finally towed away - all explained
and summarized below: 11 sponsons #P3-13 are
already welded to the port side of the wreck 2013.
If the seriously structurally
damaged wreck could actually be re-floated
was not certain. You have to apply plenty (about
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
removal work then with more arriving. You can see
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.
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 could actually be re-floated was 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 removal 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.
6. The situation is under full control - competent Italian authorities check everything including the sophisticated automatic system
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
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
. 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?
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
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'.
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'.
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? Genoa 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 Genoa. 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.
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 Genoa 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 deck house 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 were incompetent and that a stupid, removal 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?
Due to above my feelings and professional opinions based on 45+ years experience in the shipping world are that wreck/scrap owner, Salvors & Co were hiding the true situation that, e.g. lift off might be impossible and removal 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.
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 removal job is already done (18 March 2014)
Donney, Global Head, Marine Risk Consulting,
Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty
the Allianz centre of expertise for large corporate
and specialty insurance, thinks ahead (p. 20 of
2014): 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.
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):
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.
"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
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:
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.
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 were 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 removal 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
"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."
"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)".
"A decision on the final destination of the Costa Concordia would be made by the end of March."
So end of March we were supposed to know where the wreck will be towed. But was 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 just went on. At any cost! It got sillier and sillier.
20. The magic removal 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 removal 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.
Uprighting worked. All port sponson tanks except two were fully were submerged. So far so good.
the starboard bilge and flat bottom hull
internal structure hidden underwater at
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.
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.
Media people generally do not know much about ship structures, ship removal 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 remove 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
Apart from providing useful information, it would
have been spectacular footage in any documentary of
the complete project.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Rolled? On two rocky outcrops PF and PA on a sloping sea floor?
25. A complicated, time consuming, untested and expensive removal method was chosen
spokesman for Giglio council, said: Franco Gabrielli, Italy's
Civil Protection Chief, who is in charge of the
commission dealing with the disaster, said:
The Italo-American consortium
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! *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
of RINA and Fincantieri.
No serious, professional outsiders
were asked to assist. It was the
reason why the removal became at least
three times more expensive as agreed
before it fails completely 2014. Why
proven conventional removal methods were
not used is not clear.
Cristiano Pellegrini, spokesman for Giglio council, said:
Franco Gabrielli, Italy's Civil Protection Chief, who is in charge of the commission dealing with the disaster, said:
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!
*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 removal became at least three times more expensive as agreed before it fails completely 2014. Why proven conventional removal methods were not used is not clear.
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:
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
Each tank provides about 2 160 m3 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.
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."
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."
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.
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 removal 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.
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.
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 removal 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.
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?
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.
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 removal 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.
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.
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?
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.
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:
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."
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.
Chief Executive Officer
Costa Crociere S.p.A."
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 removal 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.
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 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 ...
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!
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
On 18 December 2013 most of the people and ships that worked on the M/S Costa Concordia were gone. Reason was that little removal 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. ...
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 removal. 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.
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:
41. When the wreck lifts off at 29.99 meters draught ... will it drift away ... or break apart? (6 December 2013)
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
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 deck house 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 deck house 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.
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.
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 Genoa 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can probably buy a 20 years old 30 000 dwt tanker for $3M, use it to salvage M/S Costa Concordia, as outlined above, and later sell the tanker for scrap. And this method was actually used in July 2014 by the Salvors. They used their expensive sponsons #S4-S12 that could be submerged 12 meters as simple, always floating pontoons and applied the required lift force by pulling in the chains.
51. Staggering costs
Original (2012) removal cost was say ~ US$ 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!
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!
"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 removed 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 removal 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.