A contract has been placed for the building of 30 steel caissons to be used in refloating the Costa Cruises cruise ship Costa Concordia, 114,147gt,which hit rocks on the Italian island of Giglio and capsized.
The salvage operation is being carried out by the Italo-American Titan-Micoperi consortium In July, Costa Cruises awarded the caisson contract, worth tens of millions of euros, to the Italian shipbuilding group Fincantieri. The 30 caissons, with a combined weight of approximately 11,500 tons, will be built in different Fincantieri shipyards.
Costa Cruises said:“Once the ship has been stabilised, the caissons will be fixed to the upper side of the hull and gradually filled with water as part of the operation to right the ship. The righting will use a system of ‘strand jacks’ – a hydraulic mechanism for pulling cables – fixed to an undersea platform.
“When the ship is upright, caissons full of water will be fixed to the other side of the hull. Then the caissons on both sides will be emptied to refloat the wreck in one piece. Once floated, the wreck will be towed to an Italian port.”
Meanwhile, on Giglio Island preliminary work to prepare the wreck for salvage is proceeding on schedule; this has included the removal of some external parts of the ship, such as the SAT antenna, forward masthead light and water slide.
The seabed is also being inspected regularly ahead of the site clean-up operation to conserve the marine environment. The ship stabilisation phase of the operation was due to begin in July.