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Fincantieri wins steelwork contract that's key to Concordia removal

Fincantieri wins steelwork contract that's key to Concordia removal
Italian state-owned shipbuilder Fincantieri said it had been awarded a contract to build 30 watertight steel boxes that will be used to right and refloat the hulk of the stricken cruise ship Costa Concordia.

In a statement, Fincantieri said the contract was worth ‘tens of millions of euros,’ and that the work—which involves steel construction weighing a total of around 11,500 tonnes—would be spread around its Italian yards, most of which are still struggling to find ship construction work at a time of weak demand.

It added that, once the ship had been stabilised on the sloping shelf where it now lies off the island of Giglio, the boxes would be attached to the upper side of the hull and slowly filled with water. The vessel would then be hauled upright using a hydraulic cable mechanism, and additional water-filled boxes attached to the other side of the vessel. The boxes would then be emptied of water and the refloated wreck towed to an Italian port for dismantling.

Fincantieri added that preparatory work for the salvage operation—which is being handled by US company Titan and Italy’s Micoperi—is proceeding on schedule, with external protrusions such as masts and antennae being removed from the ship. The ship stabilisation stage of the project is expected to begin later this month.

At the same time, press reports in Italy suggest the job may be completed earlier than expected, citing Titan executives to the effect that the vessel may be ready to be towed away from Giglio as early as January. Initial estimates put the removal date as spring next year.