Delay In Removing Costa Concordia From Giglio Leads To Frustrations

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

The Costa Concordia sinking tragedy was among the worst cruise ship accidents in history. Although the crash took place on Jan. 13, 2012, the vessel has yet to be removed from the waters where it sank and now, authorities are saying they will need even more time to extricate the ship.

Originally, the vessel was to be removed earlier during the year, but delays have pushed back the project. The Concordia sits in the waters off of Giglio, Italy, serving as a constant reminder of the devastating accident that took place last year. The vessel sank after the captain of the ship, Francesco Schettino, reportedly decided to alter the ship’s course while approaching the island and perform a maneuver known as a “salute.” This brought the Concordia too close to shore, where it crashed into some rocks and damaged its hull. A total of 32 people lost their lives in the crash, and on the one year anniversary of the accident, several hundred surviving victims and the loved ones of the deceased paid their respects.

The captain and several crewmembers are currently under investigation for their role in the maritime tragedy. The captain is facing multiple charges of manslaughter and abandoning ship. The vessel serves as a constant reminder to all cruise industry leaders that safety at sea is something that should never be compromised.

Safety is precisely what has been causing the delay in the removal of the Concordia. Officials explain that toxic materials trapped inside the vessel are to blame for the delay in the extrication of the vessel from its watery grave. If not careful, the toxins can leak into the water, affecting the marine life.

Earlier this month, experts gave an update on the removal project, stressing that the massive size of the vessel – 112,000 tonnes – and its particular position on the rocks off Giglio coast, have raised concerns. Moreover, the waters where the vessel sank are part of a protected marine sanctuary for dolphins, porpoises and whales, as well as a favorite spot for divers.

However, Giglio officials are becoming increasingly concerned, urging project leaders to hurry and remove the vessel. Tourism in Giglio has fallen 28 percent in the past year, partly due to the Concordia sitting in the waters off the island’s port. Officials in charge of the removal project are now saying the vessel will not be pulled out of the water until at least the end of September, but that’s only a probable date. Factors such as rough seas and poor weather all influence the project’s start date.

In addition, Costa officials said the cost to remove the ship might now be even higher, increasing from €300 million (approximately $399,420,000) originally to €400 million ($532,560,000).

Photo Credit: businessinsider.com