The Costa Concordia’s last trip is to a scrap heap.
The Italian island of Giglio, on the peninsula’s Tuscan thigh, will finally have a clear view of Corsica once again. Two and a half times the tonnage of the Titanic, the hulk is making its way to Genoa, tugged up the coast under escort, after the largest salvage operation of a ship in history.
Popular salvage master Nick Sloane, a South African, wasn’t taking anything for granted — though, if he’s nervous, he hid it well.
Sloane said: “We have to go to Genoa, so it is a big day for Giglio, but we have to get the ship to Genoa. Once we are in Genoa, then I can relax.”
When the ship comes in, the maritime haulage operation by US-Italian consortium Titan-Micoperi will be considered done.
The bill for the Costa Concordia’s owner Costa Crociere is 1.5 billion euros.
The ship pitched over in January 2012 after striking rock navigating in error too close to the shore. Thirty-two of the ship’s very badly managed 4,229 passengers and crew were killed. One body was never recovered. A diver died, too.
The captain abandoned ship before his passengers. Francesco Schettino is on trial charged with manslaughter. He denies the accident was his fault. Giglio was afraid it was on the verge of an ecological backlash, too.
The most urgent work was to check if there was anyone trapped alive in the shipwreck, but only bodies were found, except for that of an Indian waiter.
Before towing, 2,400 tonnes of fuel was pumped out of the cruise ship. It had to be heated from its congealed state. Monitoring for toxic leaks continues during its final float.
Hundreds of engineers and divers prepared for this. An accelerated time-lapse video covers the 19 hours it took to finally haul it upright in September last year.
After that it was a question of slowly restoring buoyancy, which included pumping air into the metal boxes attached to the sides.
The ship met its end in a debonair coastal sail-by.
It is led away condemned to be chopped to pieces.