It’s been 19 months since the Costa Concordia, one of the largest cruise liners ever built, ran aground off the west coast of Italy, killing 32 passengers and capsizing after granite rock tore a 50-meter hole in the ship’s hull.
But in September the rotting 952-foot wreck is set to be raised from its partially-submerged resting place off the Tuscan island of Giglio in what engineers say is a risky and unprecedented operation.
The plan is to use cables attached to hydraulic pumps to rotate the ship upright — a process known as “parbuckling” — from the seabed onto a platform, which consists of a series of cement bags and huge under-water steel structure.
After repairs are made to the previously submerged side of the Concordia, giant steel “caissons,” or boxes, on the sides of the ship will be pumped full of air and the cruise liner will theoretically float to the surface and be towed to a nearby seaport — hopefully all in one piece.
- Raising of the Costa Concordia, one of the largest cruise ships ever built, set for September
- 952-foot ship ran aground in January 2012 on Tuscan island of Giglio, killing 32 passengers
- Unprecedented operation involves more than 500 workers, will cost at least $400 million
- Raising of Concordia is only first phase — ship must then be dismantled at nearby port
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