Friday, May 25, 2012

Salvage Team for Costa Concordia Appointed

Familiar Names Collaborate to Recover Stricken Vessels Hull
Shipping News Feature

ITALY – US – The tragedy of the sunken cruise liner Costa Concordia off the coast of the Isle of Giglio is beyond our normal coverage involving as it does that carriage of passengers, not freight. The recovery of the stricken vessel is however within our brief and this week the contract to salvage the wreck, a sensitive environmental matter, was awarded to a coalition from two countries.

Titan Salvage, part of the US Crowley Corporation, is a name familiar to regular readers and the company has teamed with Italian group Micoperi a well known Italian marine contractor with a long history as a specialist in underwater construction and engineering. There seems to have been a degree of prevarication on the part of the Costa Concordia Emergency Commissioner’s Office and Costa Crociere S.p.A., the ships owners, as the prediction had been that work would have been well under way by now.

Perhaps the most vital factor for consideration is the environmental threat and Titan say once the main work is complete, the sea bottom will be cleaned and marine flora replanted. The plan also includes measures to safeguard the island of Giglio’s tourism and wider economy, the base for the salvage operation for example will be based on the mainland at nearby Civitavecchia, where equipment and materials will be stored, thereby avoiding any impact on Giglio’s port activities.

The bulk of the Costa Concordia’s fuel was already removed in March, along with other extraneous matter, by another international cooperation between Netherlands based Smit and local group Tito Neri, both of whom were thanked by Costa Crociere S.p.A. Chairman & CEO Pier Luigi Foschi when the announcement of the hull salvage plan was announced.

The plan was selected by an evaluation team with specialist representatives from Costa Crociere, Carnival Corporation plc, London Offshore Consultants, and the Standard P&I Club. All six tenders submitted by the March 3 deadline were of a very high standard, but the evaluation team decided that the Titan Salvage/Micoperi proposal best fulfilled the main objectives set out in the tender specifications: removal of the wreck in one piece, minimal risk, minimal environmental impact, protection of Giglio’s economy and tourism industry, and maximum safety of the work.

The key factor in the salvage plan is the maintenance of the hull in one piece and, once floated, the wreck will be towed to an Italian port and dealt with in accordance with the requirements of the Italian authorities, what these are remains to be seen. The criminal prosecutions against the Captain and certain officers and officials of the ships operators are still proceeding following the deaths of more than thirty people.

Photo: A Microperi tug under way.