Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Cruise Ship to Head for Scrap

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Cruise Ship to Head for Scrap

Article excerpt

In one of the most expensive and challenging salvage operations ever performed, work will begin next week to remove the luxury liner Costa Concordia from granite rocks off the Tuscan island of Giglio.

In one of the most expensive and challenging salvage operations ever performed, work will begin next week to remove the luxury liner Costa Concordia from granite rocks off the Tuscan island of Giglio, where it ran aground in January, the companies involved announced Friday.

Florida-based Titan Salvage and the Italian underwater construction and offshore contractor Micoperi plan to lift the half- submerged vessel with cranes, roll it onto a platform, using air- and water-filled caissons to stabilize it, and finally tow it to an Italian port, where it will be demolished.

"This is the largest ship removal by weight in history," Rich Habib, Titan's managing director, told reporters in Rome. "The magnitude of the job and the magnitude of the techniques used are something unprecedented."

The operation is estimated to cost at least $300 million, more than half the value of the ship, and will be covered by its operator's insurers.

"These kinds of ships are the biggest industrial objects built to move in the world," said Emilio Campana, the director of the research institute for naval and maritime engineering at the National Research Council of Italy. "Their gigantism creates the main challenge to this operation, because it's like raising from the ground a floating city; it's very delicate and complex."

The 290-meter, or 950-foot, Costa Concordia weighed 114,500 tons without the water and debris that have now been cramming its 17 decks for four months. Raising such a tremendous weight from its right side, now deformed by the granite rocks underneath, has to be done inch by inch, experts said.

"It would have been easier to cut it up in sections, but it'd have produced a tremendous amount of debris," said Joseph Farrel, chief executive of U. …

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