Photo: CBS News
In January, the cruise ship Costa Concordia struck a rock of the shore of Isola del Giglio, in the Mediterranean.30 people on board the largest passenger wreck of all time lost their lives; two are still missing. Nearly a year later, the wreck is still sitting off the Italian coast, mostly submerged.
Because the Costa Concordia is in a nationally protected marine park and coral reef, it must be removed from the area before it can be dismantled, posing countless difficulties.
In a report on the efforts to remove the wreck, 60 Minutes’ Leslie Stahl visited the site and recounted the remarkable salvage operation, which has a $400 million price tag.
Not only is it the riskiest, most complicated, and most expensive salvage plan ever undertaken, but no one is sure if it will work.
The underwater platform is being built in northern Italy. The steel must be transported through the Adriatic Sea, around the boot of Italy, and up to the wreck.
The steel that makes it up weighs three times as much as the Eiffel Tower. It will be embedded in the seafloor.
The drill bit will be enclosed in a large tube, to keep debris from contaminating the protected area.
For now, the ship is held in place by steel cables, but strong storms could dislodge it. Then it would sink to the seafloor, making the salvage operation near impossible.
111 salvage divers are currently working on the salvage operation around the clock, in 45-minute shifts. They attached the cables holding the ship where it is.
The ship will be floated next summer. Once the process begins, there is no way to stop it, even if something goes wrong.
If all goes well, the 'Costa Concordia' will be cut up for scrap, far from Giglio. It is so large, the process will take 2 years.
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