The ill-fated cruise ship the Costa Concordia was floating once again on Monday afternoon after salvage crews worked all day to bring the ship to the surface. The boat is to be returned to port in Genoa so that it might be searched and dismantled. The cruise ship sank in an incident in 2012 and is though to house the remains of Russel Rebello, the only person on board the ship who has not been found.
The sinking of the Costa Concordia two years ago near Isola del Giglio, an island off of the coast of Tuscany, killed 32 people. At the time of the incident there were 3,229 passengers and 1,023 crew on board the vessel. According to a subsequent investigation the vessel struck a rock. A number of other factors contributed to the mass loss of life aboard the vessel.
Costa Concordia rises for the last time
The raising of the Costa Concordia may have been completed today, but the preparatory work has taken close to a year. Over the last ten months engineers have been attaching metal boxes to the ship. Those containers, which are completely sealed, were then pumped full of compressed air in order to bring the vessel to the surface. The process, much like a balloon, lowered the effective weight of the boat and caused it to rise to the surface.
Sylvia Pggioli, an NPR reporter covering the story, said “Six hours after the refloating began, the 115,000-ton vessel had cleared its custom-made platform by one meter. The ship is to be raised another meter today. Then it will be towed 90 feet eastward and anchored to the seabed and land with chains and cables.” The ship is then to be towed to the port in Genoa where it will be completely dismantled.
The family of Russel Rebello, who, it is presumed, died in the sinking of the cruise ship, will be waiting eagerly for news of the salvaged wreck. Russel’s body was the only one not discovered by the rescue operation that attempted to save those who sank with the Costa Concordia. The man, who worked as a waiter aboard the cruise ship, was apparently last seen helping passengers into rescue boats.
Costa Concordia disaster casts dark shadow
The raising and dismantling of the Costa Concordia will, according to Italy’s Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti, close a dark period in the country’s history. The investigation into the sinking of the cruise ship found that a number of decisions made were against best practice and probably led directly to the loss of life recorded on the ship. The ship’s captain is currently awaiting trial on charges of manslaughter for the role he played in the sinking of the cruise ship.
The cost of salvaging the Costa Concordia has apparently already risen to more than $1 billion, a number which does not include the ship’s refloating, or its eventual transport and scrapping in Genoa. The effect on the cruise industry as a whole has been profound, and the future of the business in Italy is in doubt after the disaster.