Where is the Costa Concordia Now?

The ship that went aground one year ago is slowly but surely being turned upright and salvaged

Costa Concordia at Night
Enrico Sacchetti

Maritime Nightmare

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(Enrico Sacchetti)

More than a year after it ran aground with 4,252 people aboard, shocking viewers worldwide, the cruise ship Costa Concordia remains wedged on rocks near the Italian island Giglio. But the luxury liner might float one last time. Its owner, the Carnival Corporation, is spending $400 million on one of the largest salvage operations ever attempted, the Parbuckling Project.

The Parbuckling Project

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(Enrico Sacchetti)

Parbuckling is a centuries-old method that winches a sunken or listing ship upright while it is anchored at a pivot point known as the “deadman.” Sounds simple, right? But the Costa Concordia is 951 feet long and weighs 60,000 tons. To hoist it, nine enormous rectangular compartments, called sponsons, will be bolted to the ship, each equipped with a hydraulic pulley; the pulleys lead to 36 steel cables as thick as lampposts that attach to six underwater platforms. As the pulleys tighten the cables, the ship will be lifted upright.

The Parbuckling Project

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(Enrico Sacchetti)

If all goes well, the two-hour par­buckling maneuver will climax months of work by 450 technicians. Steps include drilling 26 holes in the granite coast to hold pillars for the platforms. The sponsons will be filled with seawater to act as a counterweight as the ship is lifted.

End of the Line

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(Enrico Sacchetti)

Once it’s upright, the sponsons will be drained, and additional ones will be attached to the other side. They’ll all be filled with air, providing buoyancy like a giant life preserver. With luck, the liner will be towed into an Italian port, where ship breakers will spend two years turning it into scrap metal, which will be sold.