Sunday, January 13, 2013

Some Things are Easier to Avoid than Fix

A year after the Costa Concordia cruise ship sank in Italy, drowning 32 passengers and crew, the ship’s owner acknowledged Saturday that efforts to salvage the wreck were behind schedule, even as survivors of the disaster expressed anger at being told to keep away from anniversary ceremonies.

Executives from Costa Crociere, the Italian firm that operated the Costa Concordia, said that its attempt to right the half-submerged ship onto an undersea platform and float it off for breaking up has been slowed by the difficulty of drilling into the soft sand and tough granite below the ship. The 1,000-foot-long-vessel slammed into rocks on the Tuscan island of Giglio and partially sank Jan. 13, 2012.

The tow-off date for what has become one of the world’s biggest-ever salvage projects has been pushed back from this spring to September, Costa Crociere said, with the rotating of the vessel now due in July. The price tag for the work has risen from $300 million to $400 million.

More than 400 people, including 110 divers, are working on the wreck, which sits on its side in shallow water off Giglio. The salvage effort requires 30,000 tons of steel, three times the amount used to build the Eiffel Tower.

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