SA man describes Concordia salvage operation

2013-09-13 10:05
Salvage team members work at the rock on the side of the Costa Concordia cruise ship near the harbour of Giglio Porto. (Vincenzo Pinto, AFP)

Salvage team members work at the rock on the side of the Costa Concordia cruise ship near the harbour of Giglio Porto. (Vincenzo Pinto, AFP)

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Durban - Nearly two years ago, on a Friday the 13th, the luxury cruise liner Costa Concordia ran aground on the small Italian island of Giglio off the Tuscan coast with the loss of 32 lives.

The disaster paved the way for the biggest-ever marine salvage operation and at its helm is a South African, Nick Sloane.

On Friday that operation moves into top gear as the final preparations are put in place for the rotating of the ship from its current position using a technique known as parbuckling.

Sloane, who grew up in Botha's Hill in KwaZulu-Natal and learnt to sail on Midmar Dam, has worked on many high-profile salvage operations but acknowledges the Costa Concordia is the biggest he has been involved with “by a long way”.

“It is the most engineered salvage recovery operation ever undertaken,” Sloane told The Witness.

When the 114 000-ton Costa Concordia ran aground, she was carrying 4 252 people and on the first stage of a Mediterranean cruise. Thirty-two people were killed in the disaster when the ship hit a reef after the captain deviated from the official route.

Last July, four of the ship’s crew and a Costa Cruises company official were sentenced to jail for their role in the accident while the ship’s captain Francesco Schettino remains on trial for manslaughter and causing the loss of the ship. His trial resumes on 23 September.

 
Read more on:    nick sloane  |  italy  |  maritime  |  good news  |  cruise liner disaster
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