Salvage crews plan to begin the complex work of refloating the wreck of the passenger ship Costa Concordia on Monday. The vessel will then be towed to a port in Genoa, Italy, to be scrapped.
The massive 114,500-ton vessel, owned by Costa Crociere SpA, a unit of Miami-based Carnival Corp. (NYSE:CCL), capsized in January 2012 off the coast of Italy's Giglio Island. Since then, maritime salvage crews have been working on what has been called one of the most complex and expensive salvage operations in history, costing an estimated $800 million. The ship was set upright from the seabed in September 2013 in a part of the operation called the “parbuckling phase.”
For a detailed description of the salvage effort from phase to phase, see the Parbuckling Project website. The refloating phase is set to begin at 6 a.m. local time on Monday and take a week to complete, after which the ship will be towed to Genoa.
“It is a complex operation never attempted before,” Costa Crociere CEO Michael Thamm said Saturday, “but we know we can count on the best technicians in the world. I wish them all the best for the success of this great challenge.”
The Concordia’s captain, Francesco Schettino, is being tried for manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship for his role in the disaster. Schettino ordered the ship to pass close to Giglio Island off the Italian mainland before it struck a reef and capsized. The accident left 32 people dead another 64 injured out of the 4,252 people on board.
Schettino spoke out recently about the wreck, claiming that the wreck was because his crew did not listen to his orders. An order to abandon ship was delayed an hour after the Costa Concordia struck a rock, and two hours after that Schettino left the capsizing vessel. The Coast Guard ordered him back aboard but Schettino refused.
A civil lawsuit was also filed on behalf of the passengers during the wreck against Costa Crociere, which operated the Costa Concordia.
Watch the 19-hour-long operation to right the capsized Costa Concordia below:
Italian authorities also released some eerie footage from inside the wreck of the Costa Concordia: