Two and a half years, and an estimated US$2.25B (€1.7bn, £1.3bn) salvage outlay, the ill-fated cruise ship is en-route to a Genoa Yard for ship breaking.
The convoy, moving at 2.5 knots, is expected to end its 200-mile passage on Sunday July 27, 2014.
The Anchor Handling Tug (AHT), Blizzard, is reunited on this tow with her sister vessel AHT Resolve Earl. Their combined 24,000 bhp (17,897 kW) yields 270 tons bollard pull (2,648 kN.)
Tschudi Offshore & Towage, Ijmuiden, Netherlands, operates ATH Blizzard. Resolve Marine Group, Ft Lauderdale Florida, operates ATH Resolve Earl.
Originally the Dockwise Vanguard was envisioned to retrieve the mortally wounded Costa Concordia.
However, that plan was scuttled when in May 2014, the president of Tuscany said he would ban the semi-submersible heavy lift ship Dockwise Vanguard from approaching the Island of Giglio.
Enrico Rossi said he would physically prevent the Vanguard, the largest of its type in the world, from entering the region to lift and transport the wreck because of environmental hazards.
Lifting the stricken cruise ship onto the 117,000-ton-lift-capacity Dockwise Vanguard ran the risk of displacing thousands of tons of water, much of it polluted by the ship's sewage and other contaminants.
Rossi was prepared to "deploy a small chain of boats around the wreck to protect it" from the Dockwise Vanguard. (Tradewinds Shipping News, May 2014.)
The journey through pristine waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea into the Ligurian Sea to Genoa has environmentalist on edge. To that end, sensors attached to the hull of the Concordia will monitor for possible cracks in the crippled hull. Underwater cameras will watch for debris washing out of the vessel amid fears toxic waste could spill into the sea.
Objects floating free such as suitcases, clothes and furniture will be caught in a huge net while infrared sensors will be used to detect possible oil leaks at night.
And the body of one more passenger is somewhere in the chaotic interior of the vessel.
The islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea are magnets for SCUBA and snorkel diving. For more than two years, the Costa Concordia became the de facto tourist attraction on the Isola del Giglio. The sleepy island community of ~900 was soon overwhelmed with tourists and an army of 600 salvage workers.
Whilst the salvage crews lived on dormitory barges, they still needed to grab a brew after work. See "We'll Die Without that Boat."
Built at a cost of US$570 million (€450 million (£372 million) and placed in service in July 2006, Costa Concordia was superbly outfitted.
• 1,500 cabins; 505 with private balconies and 55 with direct access to the Samsara Spa and were considered Spa staterooms.
• One of the world's largest exercise facility areas at sea, the Samsara Spa, a two-level, 6,000 m2 (64,600 sq ft) fitness center, with gym, a physiotherapy pool, sauna, Turkish bath and a solarium.
• Four swimming pools, two with retractable roofs, five jacuzzis, five spas, and a poolside movie theatre on the main pool deck.
• Five restaurants, with Club Concordia and Samsara taking reservations-only dining.
• Thirteen bars, including a cigar and cognac bar and a coffee and chocolate bar.
• For entertainment, options included a three-level theater, casino, a futuristic disco, and a children's area equipped with video game products.
• A Grand Prix motor racing simulator
• Internet café.
Interior Before / After
Key elements included parbuckling the vessel onto a steel cradle and fabrication of sponsons to provide flotation for the vessel.
Drone flyover shows details of work in progress.
Thirty sponsons were fabricated and welded to the Concordia to provide floatation, utilizing:
• 31,000 tons of steel
• 9 tons of welding rod consumed to build the sponsons and attach them to the ship
• 33 km of weld bead were laid
• 13,000 individual dives were logged
Work commenced in May 2012, and the vessel was up righted, floating on sponsons attached to the hull, in September 2013.
Slack Bridge Management
There is disturbing evidence that slack Bridge Management may have contributed to the disaster. For details read "Costa Concordia: Anatomy of an Organizational Accident," in "Further Reading" below.
Last July, five employees of the cruise company were convicted of manslaughter in the shipwreck, receiving sentences of less than three years that lawyers for victims and survivors criticized as too lenient.
Currently, Francesco Schettino, 53, the ship's captain, is on trial, charged with manslaughter, causing a maritime disaster, and abandoning ship with passengers still on board.
A Moldovan dancer, Domnica Cemortan, 26, who was on the bridge, has admitted in court that she and the married captain were lovers, after having repeatedly denied the rumors in public. Prosecutors say her presence on the bridge that night distracted Capt Schettino and contributed to the accident, which cost the lives of 32 people.
The Associated Press reports Cemortan also told the court that she boarded the Costa Concordia as a nonpaying passenger, saying, "When you are someone's lover no one asks you for a ticket."
Even as the Costa Concordia sails into history as the biggest salvage operation in history, yet another extraordinary salvage job is about to take place in the East China Sea, where 101 days ago today the Ro-Ro Ferry Sewol broached and sank.
New Video: Shot at Sea
See Also: Addio Costa Concordia - Update
1. "Bollard Pull," Capt. P. Zahalka, Association of Hanseatic Marine Underwriters.
2. "Costa Concordia: Anatomy of an Organizational Accident." Human factors resulting in wreck.
3. "Modern ships Voyage Data Recorders: A forensics perspective on the Costa Concordia shipwreck." Black Box analysis of trajectory of Costa Concordia.
4. "Ministry of Infrastructures and Transports, Marine Casualties Investigative Body Cruise Ship Costa Concordia." Detailed Preliminary Incident Report.
5. Copernicus Satellites: "Recovery operations Assisted From Space."