The operation to right the ship Costa Concordia (known as “parbuckling”) has been given the go-ahead for this month: this was the outcome of a meeting convened in Rome recently at the headquarters of the Civil Protection Department, by the Emergency Commissioner Franco Gabrielli, and attended by representatives from the Advisory Committee, the Observatory, the Micoperi-Titan Consortium and the cruise line Costa Crociere.
Final authorization to proceed with the operation to rotate the wreck is subject to submission of all the test certificates following inspection of all the finished structures and to completion of the preliminary activities required before the actual parbuckling can begin. All of this should take place by the end of September; at any time thereafter, as soon as the sea and weather conditions are favorable, the operation to rotate the wreck into an upright position can begin.
The parties present at the Rome meeting all contributed to the discussions – within their respective areas of expertise – providing guidelines and instructions that the contracted firms will be obliged to abide by during the parbuckling and which were added to the final document drafted subsequently.
The decision taken at today’s meeting is the result of continuous work – with a constant exchange of information and documents – between the companies contracted to remove the wreck (world leaders in marine salvage and naval engineering) and the Emergency Commissioner’s Office, particularly its Monitoring Observatory. Over the months, in fact, the potential risks associated with the parbuckling were assessed and specific precautionary measures were taken accordingly. In this regard, a comparison was made between the risk of leaving the ship upright throughout the winter, exposed to adverse sea and weather conditions, or else leaving the wreck in its current tilted position for the same period of time; the conclusion reached was that the former option is preferable to the latter – another winter left lying at an unnatural angle would possibly have comprised the parbuckling operation if this had been delayed until next spring. The meeting also agreed on a weighty document dealing with management of the water inside the hull; indeed, since the start of August, preliminary work has been proceeding involving the “remediation” of the liquid material and its removal from some accessible parts of the ship.
As has been the case all along, arrangements were also made to inform the population of Giglio about the latest developments; to this end, next week a meeting is scheduled on the island with the Prefect Mr. Gabrielli, the Mayor of Giglio, the Chairman of the Monitoring Observatory and representatives from the Micoperi-Titan Consortium and Costa Crociere.
A few days after this, a press conference will be held to announce to the media the likely date of commencement of the operation – this is still uncertain at the moment – as well as to explain the associated details and provide logistical instructions so that reporters can cover the story properly without hindering the parbuckling or the work of the Civil Protection Department, which is actively engaged at Isola del Giglio.