Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now

Here's how the Costa Concordia wreck is being removed

Workers have to undergo a four-day mountain climbing course before starting the job to equip themselves for the dangerous conditions.

Image: The Parbuckling Project

IT’S BEEN MORE than a year since the cruise ship Costa Concordia struck a reef off the shore of Isola del Giglio, in the Mediterranean, leading to a wreck that cost 30 passengers their lives.

Yet the enormous ship is still sitting off the Italian coast, mostly submerged, in the middle of a nationally protected marine park and coral reef.

The ingenious salvage operation —called the “Parbuckling Project” — involves building a series of underwater platforms onto which the Costa Concordia will be lifted upright (parbuckled), then floated up and towed away.

It is now fully underway: The underwater platform has been partly installed, and more than a third of the floatation devices that will hopefully lift the ship out of the sea have been filled and put in position.

These photos reveal how the salvage operation — the riskiest, most complicated, and most expensive ever undertaken — is going so far.

Here's how the Costa Concordia wreck is being removed
1 / 13
  • Work on the operation goes on 24/7

  • It's a race against time

    The ship is currently held in place by steel cables, but it could be dislodged by a strong storm. If it sinks, salvaging it would be nearly impossible.
  • One of the underwater platforms which will support ship when it's upright

  • Platform number 4 will be installed by early March

    All of the steel used in the platforms will weigh three times as much, in total, as the Eiffel Tower.
  • Platforms are embedded in holes drilled in seafloor

  • Drill bit is enclosed in large tube to keep debris from contaminating site

  • Anchor block for platform is lowered to seafloor

  • A grout bag, to be filled with sand and cement, provides support

    Around 200 of these bags are already in place under the hull to provide extra support.
  • The funnel is to be removed to make working on board easier

  • 111 salvage divers work in 45-minute shifts around the clock

  • They live in these floating barracks, next to the wreck

  • All workers have to take a four-day mountain climbing course

  • Workers use these anchors to keep from falling into water

Making a difference

A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article.

Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can make sure we can keep reliable, meaningful news open to everyone regardless of their ability to pay.

All images The Parbuckling Project>

- Alex Davies

Who gets to keep goods salvaged from ships – and at what risk?>
Photos: One year later, Costa Concordia still removed from scene of disaster>

Published with permission from:

Business Insider
Business Insider is a business site with strong financial, media and tech focus.

Read next: