*UPDATE September 16: The Costa Concordia has been raised. See the pictures of the upright cruise liner.
About 16 months after the heartbreaking events of the Costa Concordia, many are wanting an update on the capsized cruise ship. The giant ship still lies capsized, close to Giligo Island, in Italy, a reminder of the lives lost and continued concern for the impact it is having on the environment. New Costa Concordia salvage efforts have exceeded the estimated cost of $300 million, jumping to close to $400 million.
On January 13, 2012, the Costa Concordia struck a rock, tearing a hole in the side of the ship which flooded the engine room causing a loss of power. The ship eventually drifted close to Giglio Island, where the ship grounded on its side. As a result of these disastrous events, 32 people died.
The Costa Concordia salvage is a four-phase effort. With only two phase left to complete, it has already taken the resources of more than 400 divers, engineers, and other related experts that hail from 19 countries. They are working round-the-clock as they attempt to roll the ship upright by putting in onto an “artificial seabed” made up of steel platforms and 20,000 tons of cement. The ship will be uprighted by cranes that have been fixed to the subsea platfrom, and engineering accomplishment in itself. The rest of the ship has been secured by chains and giant cables, completing phase one of the Costa Concordia salvage effort. Phase two included drilling holes in the part of the ship under the water in order to place the giant steel platforms that created the artificial seabed.
The Costa Concordia re-floating efforts is an incredible engineering feat. The colossal task includes welding 30 giant boxes, known as a sponson that weigh around 395 tons, on each side of the ship (15 per side) and pumping them full of air to help the ship stay afloat after it has been righted for phase three. Imagine them acting almost like the water wings or floaties placed on a child in the water.
While everything seems to be going rather smooth so far, there are some things that the average person wouldn’t think about that the workers have to contend with. Obviously the weather is an enemy to the progress of righting the ship, but another problem is the rotting food. The Costa Concordia set out holding enough food to generously feed 4,200 people for ten days. That food is now locked in storage containers, but after a year and a half is rotting so badly to nauseate the worker and attract annoying amounts of seagulls.
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