A salvage crew was trying to pull the ship upright last Tuesday when they heard a loud sound that they determined was made by a caisson, a hollow box 30 meters tall and filled with water and air, as it detached from the side of the submerged ship.
15 of the caissons have already been attached to the port side of the ship and 15 more will be attached to the submerged starboard side over the next few weeks, including a replacement for the one that detached. The caissons are used to tilt the ship so that it is in the upright position. Once the ship has been rotated, it will be easier to pull it to the salvage yard.
There were several divers underwater near the submerged ship when the caisson detached from the boat. The divers heard the noise and vibration and noticed movement around the ship. They got away from the area as fast as they could and luckily, none of them were harmed.
The salvage team released a statement about the incident saying,
"Titan Micoperi clarifies the following: Technicians have worked all night to bring back S13, installed on the starboard side, in horizontal position. Currently, the sponson is kept in position with the support of the Conquest crane. Technicians are carrying out operations to empty the sponson from ballast water. Such operations can cause a disequilibrium of the sponson due to the movement of internal water. Such movements are to be considered physiological, until the sponson will not be completely empty. Situation is currently under control. The sponson will be transported to a shipyard for technical assessments and necessary repairs. Installation of the remaining sponsons will resume as soon as the Conquest crane will be available again, that is after that S13 will be loaded on the barge that will reach Giglio island from Genoa. Repositioning of S13 will therefore be completed at a later stage; the installation sequence foresees positioning of S10 as soon as possible. Technicians have assessed minor damages also in the adjacent sponson (S12), caused by yesterday’s contact with sponson S13 during its rotation. Assessment on this sponson is ongoing."
The team hopes that the ship will be ready to transport in early June. They are not sure where they are taking it, so it may be several more months before it can actually be moved. Several different countries have bid on the final dismantling project, but the ship will likely be taken to either Italy or Turkey.
Image via Wikimedia Commons