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Costa Concordia righting effort gets underway

Written by Nick Blenkey

parbucklingSEPTEMBER 16, 2013 — Although the start was delayed by some two hours, the Titan Salvage/Micoperi Consortium looks to have made a good start on the effort to right the cruise ship Costa Concordia by a parbuckling operation that got started around 9.00 A.M. local time today off the coast of Italy, near the island of Giglio, where the ran aground and tipped over in January 2012, killing 32 of the 4,200 people on board.

Screen grab from BBC feed

The rotation could take about two days, as the movement has to be extremely delicate and constantly monitored.

parbucklingThe parbuckling is being performed using strand jacks that are tightening several cables secured to the top of caissons attached to one side of the wreck for buoyancy and to the platforms on which the ship will rest when righted.

This is a very delicate phase, during which the forces involved have to be offset carefully to rotate the wreck without deforming the hull.

By 12.15 P.M. the Titan Micoperi Consortium could report evidence of a smooth rotation movement of the hull. A pulling force of about 6,000 tons had been applied with a consequent rotation of about three degrees. From then on, technicians expected the rotation to proceed with a gradually decreasing pulling force.

At 4.20 P.M. the wreck side was reportedly successfully dislodged from the reef by applying a maximum load of 6,000 tons (in line with forecast), thanks to the force exerted by the strand jacks operating the system of winches and steel chains.  The wreck had then rotated 10 degrees and needed to rotate at least as many more before reaching the point at which the intake valves of 11 sponsons attached to the port side of the hull reach sea level.

At 7.00 P.M.:The Titan Micoperi consortium announced that strandjack operations were temporarily suspended for an hour for maintenance work.

It was necessary to intervene with a dedicated team to avoid slack cables from interfering with the tensioned cables. This “Fast Response” team is comprised of 8 people ready to intervene for checking purposes or in the event of anomalies. As foreseen by the operating and site procedures, access onboard was via a specifically positioned ladder, and safety checks were carried out. The team who intervened are all qualified to work on the wreck, are equipped with climbing gear and protective devices as necessary. Parbuckling operations then resumed.


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