Capsized ship wrested off Italian reef
GIGLIO ISLAND, Italy — Using a vast system of steel cables and pulleys, maritime engineers on Monday gingerly winched the hull of the Costa Concordia off the reef where the cruise ship capsized near an Italian island in January 2012 and were poised to set it upright in the middle of the night.
After 15 hours of slower-than-expected progress in pulling the heavily listing luxury liner to an upright position, engineers said they finally hit the tipping point they eagerly were awaiting.
Shortly before midnight, the Concordia was raised by 25 degrees — after that, engineers said, the effect of gravity started giving the rotation a boost.
Then, engineers quit operating the pulleys, and by using remote controls, carefully began opening valves to let seawater start filling huge ballast tanks that had been welded onto the already exposed side. The weight of the water in the tanks helped pull the cruise liner up much faster.
‘‘We're in the final phase of rotation,” said Franco Gabrielli, the Italian government official who is overseeing the operation. ‘‘We have passed the 24 degree mark and now are filling the tanks with water,” he told journalists early Tuesday.
Originally, engineers had been confident complete rotation might take as little as 10 hours and be reached by early evening.
But the timetable went off plan.
First, an unpredicted early morning thunderstorm pushed back the start time. Then the wreck resisted for three hours before it allowed itself to be wrested off the jagged rocks that were embedded into one side of the hull after the Concordia had hit another reef close to Giglio Island's coastline, took on water through a 70-meter-long gash, and eventually capsized a few hundred yards away onto another reef.
There it lay on its side until Monday's daring engineering operation pulled it free. “Things are going like they should, but on a timetable that is dragging out,” said Gabrielli, chief of Italy's Civil Protection Agency.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Beijing expected to restrict Hong Kong candidates
- With eyes on China, Japan seeks record defense budget
- Ebola-infected student gives problem to Senegal
- As German fears grow, Merkel ‘holds line’
- Yemenis protest against Shiites
- Putin calls for exit corridor for Ukrainian troops trapped in southeast
- 5 authors of Ebola study died of virus during research
- Zimbabwe’s first lady enters politics amidst controversy
- Terror threat not foreign, Cameron tells Brits
- Mexico operations thwart child, family migrants
- Russian tanks inside Ukraine