Costa Concordia accident – find out what happened, facts, ship salvage plan/operation latest news & updates (removal progress, trial) and the sad story of this “most stupidly unique” and worst cruise ship accident, ever. During our December 2013 updates we also included the Costa Concordia accident animation. Concordia cruise ship accident report is at page bottom.
The below video is based on historical AIS data provided by VesselFinder.com – marine ships tracking website, the second one by popularity in the world. For more information about tracking cruise ships at sea – go to our cruise ship locator (with links to all our ships).
The Carnival cruise ship Costa Concordia (IMO 9320544, MMSI 9320544, CallSign IBHD)
Latest Costa Concordia salvage updates show this operation turned out to be the most expensive and the riskiest ever. The wreck of the liner continues to sit off the Tuscany’s coast semi-submerged (see below for more salvage info).
The Carnival cruise ship Costa Concordia sunk on the evening of Friday 13th (this combination again) off the Tuscan West Coast of Italy near the island of Giglio. The Costa Concordia sinking is a tragedy – lost lives, huge financial losses, and also as a major cruise ship safety issue. The Concordia ship general specifications: gross tonnage 114,500 tons, length 952 ft (290 m), max passenger capacity 3,780 guests and 1,100 staff and crew, maiden voyage July 14th 2006. Its owner – the Costa Crociere brand, is a subsidiary of the largest cruise ship company in the world - Carnival Corporation & PLC. The Europe’s cheapest cruise travel operator, Costa cruise company operates predominantly in the Mediterranean with a fleet of 15 big ships.
Costa Concordia accident history
Costa Concordia - what happened (the AIS video)
The hour of the Costa Concordia cruise ship accident was 22:00 local time (UTC+1), 2 hours after the Mediterranean cruise had begun from Civitavecchia (the port for Rome) on a 8-day round-trip itinerary scheduled to visit Savona, Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Caligari and Palermo.
As witnesses report “it all started with a loud bang, the huge ship shuddered to a halt, plunged into darkness”. This was the beginning of the 2 long hours of panic. It must have been a Titanic-like experience for all the 3206 passengers and 1023 crew members on board the unfortunate ship when she starts to sink. News teams reported many of the passengers jumped overboard and swam to shore as the vessel took on a 20-30 degree list to starboard presenting a real danger of sinking. As to passengers nationality, most of the passengers were Italians (989), 569 Germans, 462 French, Spanish (177), 129 US citizens (a total of 4229 people from 70 countries). Now the ship is capsized, resting against a small breakwater.
Costa Concordia sinking animation
Costa Concordia cruise ship accident – the “dead” facts
The Money talks. One of the most expensive cruise ships in the world, the Costa Concordia cost to build is US$570 million (€450 mill), but the sunken Costa liner could become “the biggest insured loss in maritime history”. The vessel was insured for US$513 million (€405 mill), the list of insurers includes XL, RSA, Generali, Allianz. Experts expect the insurance loss from the ship to be between $500 million and $1 billion. While these numbers are big enough, they could grow even bigger if over 2,300 tons of fuel on the ship start to leak – in such a case a substantial pollution liability claim would be issued. This possibility was the reason the Carnival stock prices/CCL shares to plummet by 18% on the London Stock Exchange. Carnival officials said the Costa Concordia sinking will cost the company from US $155 to $175 million (euros 118 to 133 million), including insurance deductibles and loss of use. Because of the Concordia disaster, Carnival considers lowering the cruise prices fleet-wide to keep up bookings, which will lower the company’s net revenue for this (2012) fiscal year, and the earnings per share.
Investigation reports show the Concordia’s notorious captain Francesco Schettino veered from the approved ship course and approached Giglio to perform a “salute” to a former Costa captain. Mr Schettino turned off the alarm for the computer navigation system and navigated the ship “by sight”. He obviously ordered to turn too late, the ship ended up in too shallow water where struck a rock from the Le Scole reef, tearing open an almost 160 ft (50m) gash in the hull. Captain Schettino remains under house arrest.
- Costa Concordia final death toll is 32, 2 are missing (presumed dead), 157 injured (of which 64 badly). The sunken Concordia may have had unregistered passengers on board, as well.
- On January 31 authorities officially ended the search for bodies in the submerged parts of the Concordia wreckage - the deformed hull and bad underwater conditions have been deemed too dangerous for divers. Searching continues in waters up to 7 sq miles around the ship.
- Costa Crociere offers EUR 11,000 (nearly US $15,000) per passenger as compensation for all damages, and will reimburse them the full cruise cost along with all travel expenses and any medical expenses after the accident. And naturally, when an opportunity presents itself – 6 of the passengers have opened several law suites against Carnival and demand compensation totaling US $460 million.
- On 26 January started the fuel-pumping preparations. Workers of the contractor for the fuel-extracting (the Dutch shipwreck salvage firm SMIT International) hitched to the toppled vessel a barge with a crane and other equipment and started underwater inspections for the precise locations of all the 17 fuel-tanks of Concordia, containing nearly 2 million litres of heavy diesel fuel. Experts have identified an initial 6 fuel tanks (containing more than 50% of the ship’s fuel) that’ll be worked on. The procedure would take 2-4 weeks, and generally consists of drilling into the tanks, attaching valves onto them, then the sludge-like oil must be heated, then hoses will be attached to the valves to vacuum out the oil as seawater is pumped into to displace it.
- The fuel extraction started on February 11. The position of the half-submerged cruise liner offers some relief – it’s on the Italian coast side of Giglio, so it’s relatively sheltered from getting really heavy seas. After pumping the fuel out, the ship must be uprighted and when afloat to be towed.
- The fuel-pumping job was completed successfully on March 25.
The fate of Costa Concordia - one of the largest cruise ships in the world ever and a really great entertainment ship. On 3 February was decided that the ship will not be cut in pieces, but “will be refloated and removed whole”. The words of Costa Crociere CEO mr Fischi on the subject: “We believe that the wreck can no longer be put in use”. The Costa Concordia wreck removal is the largest ever ventured.
Costa Concordia captain Francesco Schettino “wiki”
Born 1960 in Castellammare di Stabia (a coastal town south of Naples), 52-year-old in the time of the accident. Captain Schettino worked for the Costa lines for 10 years (since 2002). Schettino’s parents were sailors. He attended the naval academy in Piano di Sorrento, he worked on a tourist boat, then on super-yachts, to start a career at Costa Crociere in 2002 (initially in charge of security), promoted to captain in 2006 (second-in-command officer), captain of Costa Concordia for 5 years. Now he is one of the world’s infamous ship captains who made some “serious errors of judgement”. We give you some of the best online reviews from renown news media sources on the subject of his guilt.
“He probably saved many many lives”. Some have come to his defense (there’s a Facebook page with ~12,300 fans (as of June 2013), most of of them sailors themselves. They strongly believe Francesco Schettino have made the right decision to steer the Concordia towards port (after the collision) which saved dozens of lives.
“In the face of danger self-preservation is an instinct, a most natural reaction”. This is simply the psychology’s “fight-or-flight response”, where the “flight” impulse usually means blind panic accompanied by (probably) a sense of depersonalisation (when “reality” around is so unreal) and myriads of disorganized feelings and thoughts of great fear or even terror intruding into the mind. Still, according to facts, the captain abandoned his ship, then denied he had left; later he claimed he “tripped and fell into a lifeboat” by accident. This is an example of someone who panicked (big time) in the face of danger, and traditionally the captain’s first and utmost priority is to ensure the safety of all passengers and crew. In moments of stress, ordinary people could become cowards, and some could become heroes – but how to foretell who will become which? The simplest answer – staff evaluation and better training. Cruise ship crew/staff need to be trained to cope with dangers and the basic instincts of self-preservation, to learn to evaluate risk and danger. After all, cruise ships are not supposed to sink, but to provide fun experiences at sea.
“The Costa Concordia captain is a Daredevil Captain who likes to take risks”. Shirt – permanently unbuttoned, revealing a groomed chest hair. Skin – deeply tanned. Hair – slicked back in a mullet (looking confident and elegant). Reputation – a huge ego person, “He drives a ship like a Ferrari”, womanizer, insubordinate. According to the Marseilles port authority, just a month before the accident, Schettino left with Concordia the Marseilles port in 60 kn (70mph/111kmh) winds against the port authority’s orders.
“He’s been encouraged ‘by his superiors to sail-past Giglio and other beauty islands”. According to the Costa’s officials, the decision to take the ship so close to Giglio was unauthorized. However, other captains had executed many of such “salutes (stunts?) as well, sailing very close to beautiful islands, like Capri, for example. It surely sounds like fun – the cruise liners sounded their sirens, all decks are lit up, passengers are happily excited. And this practice was good publicity for the Costa company. According to the captain Schettino’s 135 pages of testimony, the very last Costa Concordia “cruise salute” had been planned and authorized before the Rome/Civitavecchia departure. And other Costa captains had done the same thing, quote, “all around the world”.
The Concordia Captain’s trial is still under way, facing charges of manslaughter and loss of the ship (see the updates section below). According to the Accident Report, the main cause for the disaster is attributed to, quote, “the Master’s unconventional behavior”.
Costa Concordia salvage operation procedures
The Costa Concordia salvage is expected to take 12 months. Seven of the world’s best salvage companies were bidding for the contract – the US based Donjohn Marine, Titan Salvage, Resolve Marine Group and T&T Marine Salvage, Mammoet Salvage (the Netherlands), Svitzer (Denmark) and Tito Neri (Italy). Six working plans were received by the deadline, and by the end of April Titan Salvage won the bid (the company is based in Pompano Beach, FL USA). The Italian “Micoperi” (an engineering firm) is the local Titan partner.
- Salvage procedures will involve sealing up all the holes in the hull (including the huge gash), all sections of the ship must be sealed off into airtight compartments, air will be pumped into the compartments to give the ship buoyancy, then cranes and huge pontoons will be brought in to straighten it and tow it away to a dock (most likely to Genoa).
- The estimate cost of Costa Concordia salvage operations is expected to be around US$300 mill (€225 million) or about half of the ship’s building cost. The insurers then will give the big answer to “scrap or refit” (though the most likely option is the ship to be sold on). Well, according to the latest updates, they will roll the ship in 1 piece onto a subsea platform, raise it and then will float it away. Costa Concordia will be cut up for scrap.
- (update Sept 2013) According to last data, now the estimated cost for the Concordia cruise ship removal operation is over €600 mill (or ~US$800 mill).
Costa Concordia salvage plan – dynamic, complex, an unique project
- (Anchoring & stabilization). 4 submarine anchor blocks will be fixed to the seabed between the wreck’s center and the coast. 12 retaining turrets to be installed for use during the uprighting/parbuckling. Strandjacks mounted on the tops of the turrets will be attached to a total of 24 chains (2 per turret) passing under the hull (fixed to the port side) – this is a hold-back system to be used for balancing during the rotation/uprighting.
- (Submarine supports & portside caissons, installing a false bottom for the ship to rest after rotation). Grout bags to be positioned & filled with a special eco-friendly cement to fill the empty space between the 2 rocks (the stern area & the hull’s bow) fro creating a stable base for the hull. After positioning the bags, a total of 6 platforms (3 huge and 3 smaller ones, on which the wreck will rest) will be fixed into the granite ground by drilling a 2m/6,6ft hole (no waste will be dispersed in the sea). This operation is being performed by the UK’s Frugo Seacore (offshore drilling). After the false bottom is done, the Micoperi 30 huge crane will install 15 re-floating sponsons on the ship’s left side (welded onto the wreck).
- (Parbuckling/rotation/uprighting) it should take about a couple of days, but this wis an extremely delicate procedure. It will be done using strand jacks tightening all cables attached to the platforms and the caissons’ tops (they will be pulled seawards), while the starboard turrets cables will be used for balancing. The main goal is to upright the ship without deforming its hull.
- (Starboard caissons) 15 more re-floating sponsons to be attached starboard side (landside), caissons to be used during the refloating phase.
- (Re-floating) – when the hull’s resting on the false bottom (at depth of ~ 100ft/30m), the water from the caissons on both sides will be gradually pumped out, but even on completion a big section of the ship (~ 60ft/18m) will remain submerged. There’s no a precise date for the completion of work (possible work suspensions due to bad weather, sea conditions etc), but based on the current progress, the Concordia ship removal will be completed by the end of summer 2013.
- (Ecosystem restoration) – the sea bottom to be thoroughly cleaned, marine flora to be replanted, future monitoring of the potential impact of salvage ops on the region).
- (Defueling, caretaking) right after the accident, a protection perimeter was established around the vessel using booms. On January 14, 2012, Costa engaged the Smit Salvage BV together with the Italian Tito Neri srl to remove the oil from the ship as quickly and cleanly as possible. this was done by a team of ~100 experts (international) and a total of 20 vessels (like transport ships, tug boats, crane barges, tankers, etc). Defueling was completed March 24, 2012. Followed a process of cleaning significant quantities of debris from the seabed and the whole area around the ship. Caretaking ops are still on, performed by Titan and Micoperi personnel.
- Jobs and money facts: currently at the Giglio’ site there are ~500 workers (18 different nationalities), with active engineers & divers 24/7, ~30 diverse marine vessels. There’s an increase in investments of ~US$100 mill on the initial cost, with a total estimated budget ~US$400 million.
Costa Concordia salvage operation updates 2013 latest news
- (April 5, milestone) the largest of all 5 underwater support platforms was positioned onto the seabed. “Platform No1″, as they call it, will provide a secure support when the process of uprighting starts. The weight of the platform is about 1000t (measuring 40x33m (131x108ft), and 22m/72ft tall), it’s supported by 5 huge pillars (each 2m/6,5ft in diameter). The enormous structure was lifted from a barge and positioned into place below the sunken ship by the heavy lift marine vessel “Svenja” (owner/operator SAL Heavy Lift).
- (April 10 update) Costa Crociere has accepted a fine of $1,31 mill (€1 mill, close to the max allowed by law) to settle all “potential criminal charges” concerning the Concordia accident. While it surely means that Costa won’t face a criminal trial brought by the state of Italy, it definitely doesn’t stop private lawsuits (by passengers/crew) from being filed. While many survivors accepted the line’s initial compensation offering of €11,000 (US$14,000 each, plus reimbursement of travel expenses), hundreds of the Concordia passengers have declined and will pursue civil lawsuits against Costa. According to an Italian class action lawyer (representing Italian passengers), the latest negotiations have reached €27,000 pp as a last offer from the company, but he and his clients are aiming much higher – 1 million euros for each passenger (some say greed is the most reliable emotion).
- (April 15 update) In an Italian court begun hearings to determine whether the Concordia’s captain Francesco Schettino and 5 other ship officers will face trial for charges related to the accident. The infamous captain is facing trial for charges of 1) multiple manslaughter, 2) causing a shipwreck by unauthorised and unapproved deviation from the course and 3) abandoning his ship before all passengers and crew were off. Manslaughter indictments were also requested for 4 other crew members, including the ship’s helmsman Jacob Rusli Bin (misunderstanding a direct command moments before the crash), and the 6th facing possible indictment (manslaughter & delaying rescue, which is the main cause of loss of so many lives) is the chief of the line’s crisis unit Roberto Ferrarini. There are 40 pre-trial hearings scheduled in the town of Grosetto through July (survivors are allowed to attend the hearings).
- (April 17 update) installed the 1st of the portside sponsons (p10).
- (Early June 2013 update) the 2nd platform (weight ~1000 tons, dimensions 40×22 m) was installed. It’s the 5th out of 6 platforms designed to secure a safe support for the wreck after parbuckling (when the ship is rotated into a vertical position). There are 25 ships/boats and ~460 workers currently working on the site.
- (July 22 update) At the “Civil Protection” headquarters (Rome), representatives of Titan-Micoperi and Costa Cruises presented a report on the Costa Concordia removal progress. Detailed technical documentation will be delivered to the “Observatory for Concordia Removal” in a few days for evaluation of the parbuckling (the wreck’s vertical rotation) project.
- (July 23, 2013 update) 4 Concordia crew members and 1 Costa Cruises official have been sentenced to prison for their part in the disaster. They received sentences of 18 to 34 months, just because they all pleaded guilty, thus avoiding a lengthy trial. The five sentences are: Roberto Ferrarini (director of the company’s crisis unit – 2 years 10 months), Manrico Giampedroni (hotel service director – 2 years 6 months), with sentences from 1 year 8 months to 1 year 11 months are Ciro Ambrosio (1st officer), Jacob Rusli Bin (helmsman) and Silvia Coronica (3rd officer). Reuters reported Italian judicial sources commenting that none is likely to go to jail as in Italy sentences under 2 years are suspended, and longer sentences is possible to be appealed or replaced with community service. The ship’s captain is next – his trial has been adjourned after F.Schettino requested electrical tests on the Concordia ship.
- (September 17, 2013 update) Costa Concordia removal operation process of uprighting the vessel is accomplished. The ship is already upright and stable on its artificially made seabed. The so called “parbuckling” operation started on Sept 16th at 9am and was completed in 20 hours. 22 hydraulic pumps were used to raise the ship. Now the Carnival’s Concordia has to be towed to a shipyard for dismantling.
- (September 26, 2013 update) Finally, the underwater search for Concordia cruise ship’s 2 missing bodies ended. After raising the wreck, divers found in the water near the ship’s central section unidentified human remains. Next step is DNA tests to be conducted for identification of the victims. The 2 missing were from the ship’s service staff – an Italian female and an Indian male.
- (October 10, 2013 update) – the “winterization” plan. Costa Concordia salvage workers started securing the ship wreck for the Winter. Bad weather conditions require the following procedures to be followed. 1) Securing the ship’s bow from moving via an additional stopping system. 2) An additional set of grout bags will be installed between the ship and the Giglio island rocks. 3) The Concordia ship will be connected by tube-shaped structures to all the 6 underwater platforms and will be additionally attached to the sponsons tops. The sponsons are being prepared in the Italy’s Genoa and Livorno ship yards, the sponsons’ positioning is scheduled to be completed sometime in April 2014.
- (December 2013 news update) According to the Costa Concordia salvage operation chief engineer F Porcellacchia, the wreck will be finally removed from the disaster site and towed in 2014 June. Now workers install tanks on the ship’s port side to enable her to float.
Costa Concordia removal operations 2014 Dockwise Vanguard lift ship contracted by Costa Crociere
Costa Concordia cruise ship’s operator Costa Cruises have chosen the Dockwise company to be responsible for the removal of the Concordia wreck. Dockwise is a Bermuda-based holding (a branch of Boskalis) specialized in marine transport, including “Oil and Gas” services. Royal Boskalis is a Holland-based marine company, and one of the world’s leading dredging services provider.
In 2014, Dockwise will be running an extraordinary ship removal operation – the behemoth cruise ship Concordia will be loaded on a huge maritime vessel – “Dockwise Vanguard”. And even this so huge platform will need some upgrades to be able to provide the capacity needed for the Concordia ship to be loaded and moved. The plan is Concordia removal operations to start in the middle of 2014. By the contract, the cost for this operation alone is ~US$30 million (~22 million euros).
Dockwise Vanguard is a huge semi-submersible lift ship – and the world’s largest of its kind ever built. Dockwise Vanguard ship is able to lift and carry heavyweight cargoes of up to 110,000 t. The Vanguard ship was initially designed to load and move offshore marine facilities of the oil and gas industry. This lift ship is also capable of carrying other ships, and also providing services as an offshore dry-docking operations facility.
Some of the “most fun” Dockwise Vanguard ship statistics are: weight (116173 tonnes), length overall (275 m / 902 ft), width (79 m / 259 ft), combined power (27000 kW, which is 36207,6 in HP), speed (when unloaded: 26 kmh / 16 mph, and when loaded: 24 kmh / 15 mph), operational crew is only 40.
The Costa Concordia removal operation will feature the following steps:
- The Vanguard ship’s ballast tanks will be filled with seawater, causing it to partially submerge.
- Concordia ship will be pulled over this unique Dockwise vessel.
- The Vanguard’s ballast tanks then will be emptied (water pumped out) thus lifting up and transporting the Concordia cruise ship safely.
One of the many Boskalis’ subsidiary companies (SMIT Salvage) also took part in the Costa Concordia salvage operations during the first months after the accident, when the Concordia’s fuel tanks had to be emptied.
For now, the place for the Costa Concordia scrapping is still uncertain, and Italy as the scrapyard country is only an option.
Costa Concordia location (current position)
The ominous Concordia – facts to fiction. The date was Friday 13th (oh, boy) and the year is 2012 (some noticed that RMS Titanic sank almost exactly 100 years ago – on April 14th 1912). The name is Concordia (some remembered the Concorde aircraft crash on July 25th 2000). And of course, the inauspicious launch- the failure of the ceremonial Champagne bottle to break on the bow of the new ship on September 2nd 2005.
On the Concordia cruise ship there are 18,000 bottles of wine – they are still laying there today, in the wreck. When Concordia sunk in 2012, there were also 6900 litres (1823 gallons US) of ice cream on board.
|Date, location||Accident / Incident Report|
|Feb 01, 2014
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