Removal of the wreck of the Costa Concordia from the coast of Giglio Island will be a long and costly venture soon to be undertaken by Titan Marine, the Pompano Beach, Florida company that was awarded the project along with the Italian marine contractor Micoperi.
To get an idea of the magnitude of the task they face, we turn to Joseph Farrell, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Resolve Marine Group, which has conducted hundreds of seafaring salvage and ship wreck removal operations over the past three decades. Farrell shares his knowledge about maritime emergency and disaster response, salvage, and ship wreck recovery.
"Removal of the capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship from the Tuscany coastline is one of the largest undertakings of its kind—this is a massive and complex operation which the entire world will be watching. Resolve Marine Group has worked with Titan Salvage on a number of important maritime ship wreck projects. The Costa Concordia is a massive, international assignment that will involve hundreds of personnel including naval architects and engineers, highly experienced salvage masters and a variety of specialists such as environmental consultants. Based on my experience, Titan and Micoperio are staffed with qualified teams for this mission, which, I suspect, will require dispatching equipment and crews from around the globe," explains Farrell.
Farrell continues, "The plan to upright the capsized craft; then slowly tow it to a port near Rome could take more than a year to complete. Because of the magnitude of this project, unlike other salvage operations—and because the cruise ship is so close to land—the Costa Concordia requires special attention to the environmental concerns and to limiting disruption to the community, which relies almost entirely on tourism for its economic livelihood. The salvage team has to be extremely careful not to cause adverse effects to the environment. Rolling and then refloating the ship in one piece rather than dismantling it piece-by-piece will be quite a feat. The main concern will be to not further compromise the ship's structural integrity, so that it can be maneuvered off the coast and to another port."
With that in mind, we have a better understanding of why the project will be so delicate and take such a long time.