Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

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Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby Dauric » Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:27 pm UTC

NPR article

Spoiler:
Bad weather forced divers to suspend rescue operations Monday for missing passengers and crew members from a luxury liner that crashed into a rocky reef off the Italian coast of Tuscany.

The death toll stood at six following the discovery of the body of an elderly man in a submerged section of the liner, the Costa Concordia. Of the 4,200 people who were on board, some 16 are still unaccounted for, including two Americans.

We were left to our own devices.
- Claudio Masia, passenger on the Costa Concordia
Family members issued a statement Monday confirming that Barbara and Jerry Heil of White Bear Lake, Minn., a suburb of St. Paul, are among the missing. The statement says the family is working closely with the U.S. Embassy in Italy and that they are confident "everything is being done to find our parents."

The ship's captain has been arrested and faces multiple charges, including allegations that he abandoned ship before all the passengers were rescued.

Investigation Under Way

Investigators are already analyzing the ship's black box to determine how and why the Costa Concordia veered off course close to the shore of Giglio Island.

Investigators will be able to call on a wealth of documentation provided by passengers. Many made videos with their mobile phones as they waited to get off the damaged vessel.

A video they shot by Ronald Patricio Gonzales of Chile showed hundreds of passengers wearing life vests crowded on a deck. The scene was one of confusion, with people shouting and looking terrified — and nobody telling them what to do.

Another passenger, Claudio Masia, said the ship had tilted so much that it was no longer possible to lower the lifeboats.

"We were left to our own devices," Masia said. He added that family members huddled on the keel and eventually went down a rope ladder as rescuers arrived in boats. "My mother, two children, my wife and my nephew, but I can't find my father," Masia said. "I don't know where he is. He had wanted to take this cruise for so long."

The body of 86-year-old Giovanni Masia, wearing a life vest, was found by divers Sunday afternoon.

The Equivalent Of A Fly-By?

Captain Francesco Schettino was already on shore hours before the last passengers were rescued from the tilting ship, according to officials. Coast Guard officials said they repeatedly ordered him back on board but he refused. He was arrested on suspicion of multiple manslaughter, shipwreck, tampering with evidence and abandoning ship.

Schettino, meanwhile, said he didn't leave the liner early, telling Mediaset television that he had done everything he could to save lives. "We were the last ones to leave the ship," he said.

Costa Cruises, the shipping company that owns the Costa Concordia, issued a statement saying it appears the captain made errors in judgment, and the lead prosecutor has also been critical.

"It was a hazardous maneuver," said the prosecutor Francesco Verusio. "He got too close to the island, some 150 yards from the coast. The captain gave the alarm around 10:42 p.m. [local time], one hour after the collision."

Verusio said that bringing the ship so close to Giglio was part of a maritime practice — the equivalent of a fly-by. The sirens are sounded in a salute to show off the brightly-lit luxury liner to the islanders.

Fears Of An Environmental Disaster

The shipwreck took place in a stretch of the Mediterranean said to be the biggest designated marine park in Europe. The rocky reefs are a scuba divers paradise, a natural habitat of dolphins and a protected area for many fish species.

Now there is fear of an environmental disaster.

Officials said none of the ship's 500,000 gallons of fuel has leaked so far. Italy's Environment Ministry has already sent four specially equipped vessels to the area with containment barriers. A Dutch firm has been called in to help extract the fuel from the ship's tanks.

Environment Minister Corrado Clini said the passage of massive luxury liners in this stretch of sea has gone on too long.


"These floating condominiums, which offer thrills for tourists, are a serious danger for the environment," Clini said. "We have to move quickly to prevent these huge ships — which are not equipped with a double hull — from entering these delicate areas."

The minister will attend an emergency on-site meeting with experts to assess how to remove the shipwreck as quickly and as safely as possible.


The captain has been arrested on charges of manslaughter, evidence tampering, and abandoning ship

According to some sources, very few of the crew spoke Italian despite being an Italian registered liner, and most of the crew were unable to communicate instructions to the passengers.

According to the NPR article the captain made a risky pass close to the island in a "My boat is bigger than yours" to the island inhabitants and the wreck is currently threatening the wildlife preserve that it wrecked in. Fuel hasn't begun leaking yet and ships equipped to remove fuel from wrecks have been deployed to the area, but with the ship resting on the reef itself any leak would be likely to destroy the preserve.
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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby aoeu » Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:10 pm UTC

There were about a thousand crew members on board, so it's expected.

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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby ShootTheChicken » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:28 pm UTC

What's expected?
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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby Panonadin » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:49 pm UTC

I assume he/she meant that a lot of them not speaking italian was expected. I guess with 1000 plus crew members even if half of them spoke fluent italian you could get by just fine. But during an emergency finding a few not speaking it would kind of suck.
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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby Triangle_Man » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:03 pm UTC

Given the amount of damage in terms of environmental and monetary costs that this caused as well as the deaths and injuries this doubtlessly caused, why would the Captain have pulled a stunt like this in the first place?
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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby ShootTheChicken » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:07 pm UTC

Presumably he wasn't expecting to crash.
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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby Triangle_Man » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:08 pm UTC

ShootTheChicken wrote:Presumably he wasn't expecting to crash.

Maybe he should've thought of that before taking his boat that near the island.

It's way too late for that now, however.
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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby Dauric » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:18 pm UTC

The captain diverged from his plotted course pretty wildly to go flash his lights and blow his horn at the islanders.

BBC article with image of planned and actual routes of the CC

The captain is claiming the rocks weren't on his navigation charts....

Also the ship is leaking fluids, though it's not known if it's fuel or other fluids.

Worries are growing that the ship could cause an environmental disaster if it breaks up and sheds its load of about 2,300 tonnes of fuel.

Italian Environment Minister Corrado Clini said there was evidence that liquid was leaking from the ship, but he could not confirm whether the fluid was fuel.
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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby faranim » Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:53 pm UTC

This National Post page has a bunch of high res pictures and a different map of the estimated course the ship took

I've seen various numbers regarding missing/dead. The latest seems to be 29 people missing (25 passengers and 4 crew), and 6 deaths. Most of the deaths appear to be older people.

We'll have to wait and see the outcome of the investigation. I find it hard to believe that a captain would randomly steer the boat towards land.

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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby Dauric » Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:12 pm UTC

faranim wrote:This National Post page has a bunch of high res pictures and a different map of the estimated course the ship took

I've seen various numbers regarding missing/dead. The latest seems to be 29 people missing (25 passengers and 4 crew), and 6 deaths. Most of the deaths appear to be older people.

We'll have to wait and see the outcome of the investigation. I find it hard to believe that a captain would randomly steer the boat towards land.


It wasn't a 'random' thing, according to NPR:
Verusio (the Italian prosecutor) said that bringing the ship so close to Giglio was part of a maritime practice — the equivalent of a fly-by. The sirens are sounded in a salute to show off the brightly-lit luxury liner to the islanders.


Basically the captain was waving his giant ... boat.. at the costal fishing community on the island like other captains had before him.
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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:19 pm UTC

The "the rocks weren't on my charts" excuse has to be the lamest one I've ever heard since these ones. You know what else wasn't on your chart, captain? The path you took.
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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby D.B. » Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:01 am UTC

The route will probably had safety margins marked, within which it ought to have been safe to sail even if deviated from the exact course. If the ship strayed outside of those then that was very, very dim.

If I had to put money on what happened I'd say they were using the wrong resolution of chart. At any time it's good practise to be using the finest scale chart available. If the path shown on the bbc is accurate then normally they will have been sailing quite far from any islands, so that will probably have been a fairly coarse scale chart. In and around islands though more detailed charts typically exist marking threats like this, which they ought to have changed over to. However if the course alteration wasn't planned then this step may have been missed somehow.

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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby Gagundathar The Inexplicable » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:34 pm UTC

I have been thinking about this and reading reports since this happened.

The captain is at fault, in my not so humble opinion.
Also, the crew and officers were ill-equipped to deal with such a disaster.
I believe the passengers were not even advised about emergency procedures.

That is a serious problem with not just the captain but the senior officers, as well.

This is a horrible thing that could have been easily prevented.
Obviously, legal proceedings will occur and, in due time, we will see what happens.
But, though I am but an humble computer scientist and not a lawyer, I will expect to see the captain be imprisoned for a significant number of years for his malfeasance.

Gosh, did y'all see the size of that ship? Holy crap, it looks like a gigantic apartment building on a hull.
It probably was wonderful to sail on, but from the outside it looks like ... well... not very pretty let us just say.

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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:30 pm UTC

D.B. wrote:If I had to put money on what happened I'd say they were using the wrong resolution of chart.

No: recall that the captain intentionally veered off course in order to show off to the islanders.

Gagundathar The Inexplicable wrote:But, though I am but an humble computer scientist and not a lawyer

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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby Gagundathar The Inexplicable » Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:48 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
D.B. wrote:If I had to put money on what happened I'd say they were using the wrong resolution of chart.

No: recall that the captain intentionally veered off course in order to show off to the islanders.

Gagundathar The Inexplicable wrote:But, though I am but an humble computer scientist and not a lawyer

If this were a problem, half of us (including me) wouldn't be allowed here. And as sure as the thought that I'd not be allowed here overjoys anyone, I nevertheless am.


hahahahaha Love your avatar.
Very logical.

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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby Telchar » Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:57 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
D.B. wrote:If I had to put money on what happened I'd say they were using the wrong resolution of chart.

No: recall that the captain intentionally veered off course in order to show off to the islanders.


Right, which other ships were able to do successfully in the past. The reason they were able to, and he didn't, was possibly because he wasn't using the correct chart to show him near shore hazards.
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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby Dauric » Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:20 pm UTC

Telchar wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:
D.B. wrote:If I had to put money on what happened I'd say they were using the wrong resolution of chart.

No: recall that the captain intentionally veered off course in order to show off to the islanders.


Right, which other ships were able to do successfully in the past. The reason they were able to, and he didn't, was possibly because he wasn't using the correct chart to show him near shore hazards.


And/Or in charting his own course he decided getting as close to the island as possible would win bragging points (and/or a possible wager) back at the bar with the rest of the captains, and misjudged the accuracy of his charts/ the expertise of his pilot/ his own command ability.
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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby Tirian » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:09 pm UTC

I think it would be worthwhile to pull the nav records of every cruise ship to see if it is standard practice for cruise ship captains to play chicken with islands. If so, then this goes far beyond one bad captain. These are juvenile shenanigans that could have been shut down by either Costa executives or the Italian Coast Guard or everyone on that island who knew they were getting buzzed. These charts were designed to be error-prone, the point being that by trying to sail in the green zone that even if you screw up you'll only be in the yellow zone. When deliberately sailing in the yellow zone becomes standard operating procedure, it's only a matter of time before unavoidable error will have someone accidentally sailing into the red zone. It's worth figuring out to what degree this captain's error was unavoidable, but let's not ignore whether there is a whole lot of willful ignorance that tolerated the conditions that lead to the accident.

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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby Angua » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:13 pm UTC

We once had a cruise ship run aground, it was small and the greatest casuality was to the reef in ended up on (that was the main consideration when taking it off said reef as apparently that could cause a lot of damage). I think it was a small Dutch liner, I think.

No formal explanation was given iirc, but there were many rumours (though I don't remember the captain playing chicken as being one of them).

An article from when it happened http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2001/feb/21/travelnews1
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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby D.B. » Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:42 pm UTC

Telchar wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:
D.B. wrote:If I had to put money on what happened I'd say they were using the wrong resolution of chart.

No: recall that the captain intentionally veered off course in order to show off to the islanders.


Right, which other ships were able to do successfully in the past. The reason they were able to, and he didn't, was possibly because he wasn't using the correct chart to show him near shore hazards.


Exactly that. He veered off course, and so the correct scale of chart wasn't used.

I obviously don't have access to the exact charts in question, but I've found an example which illustrates what I mean. Have a look at NGA 53135. For the normal route which is being proposed by the bbc in my link above (and also in the guardian, though the two are probably working from the same source), this scale of chart seems entirely appropriate - I cannot find a finer scale one from this set which takes in that original route, passing as close as it does to monte argentario, so this is the one that I would use. However, take a look at the inset just below the port in the top right hand corner. A finer scale chart (B - italian chart 119) exists of the waters around island giglio itself. That's pretty standard practise, and if you're going close to the island, then that's the one you really should be using. But if going close to the island was not part of the original route then all the planning would have been done with this coarser scale chart instead...

Using 53135, the comments the captain made to the media about being 300 meters from the rocks, and the various images in the media that indicate they hit something near le scole, it looks like they would have thought themselves to be in water with a sounding of about 98m and no obvious obstacles. That would probably look safe enough. I wish i could find a copy of italian chart 119 to make a comparison.

On the other hand, if they completely cocked up and were about 300m from the shore (maybe using an even worse scale chart that didn't show how far out the rocks went?), then that would put them almost directly on the edge of the rocky outcrop...



My wild theory aside*, having had a poke about on wikipedia I've softened a little to the idea that this may have been an uncharted rock. It lists three examples of vessels hitting uncharted obstacles between 1973 and 2005 (one a nuclear sub for goodness sake!) due to inaccuracies in shallow water charting. So it's not so inconceivable that they've hit something uncharted, especially if this is a small island that doesn't get big ships passing often.


*which while i'm kinda fond of, after having thought about it a little more I'm not so certain I'd put money on it. The whole thing just made me think of HMS Nottingham.

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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby addams » Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:45 pm UTC

That was a good story. Poor little Ship.

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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby Lucrece » Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:50 am UTC

I love understanding Italian and hearing the coast guard bitch out the captain and tell him to get back on the fucking ship to assess the situation and needs of the endangered passengers.
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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby Steax » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:02 am UTC

Hang on, wait, the captain and first mate jumped off the ship before the passengers got on their lifeboats?

Though stuff like this just makes me depressed sometimes.

Rome newspaper La Repubblica quoted an interview Schettino gave the Czech newspaper Dnes in which he said he enjoyed facing something unpredictable, “when I can diverge a bit from standard procedures. It’s a challenge and I enjoy facing challenges.”
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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby SlyReaper » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:57 am UTC

Someone who enjoys taking risks for fun: definitely captain material there.
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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby wst » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:43 pm UTC

Captain Zapp Brannigan: We'll just set a new course for that empty region over there, near that blackish, holeish thing.

Lt. Kif Kroker: This is a pleasure cruise. Our path is decided by the travel agency.
Captain Zapp Brannigan: That's for schoolgirls. Now here's a course with some chest hair.
[Draws a meandering line on the chart]
Lt. Kif Kroker: But that leads us straight through a comet field.
Captain Zapp Brannigan: Ah, yes. Comets, the icebergs of the sky. By jackknifing off one after another at breakneck speed, we can create a gravity boost, or something.

Captain Zapp Brannigan: Don't blame yourself, Kif. We were doomed from the start. I guess all that remains now is for the captain to go down with the ship.
Lt. Kif Kroker: That's surprisingly noble of you, sir.
Captain Zapp Brannigan: No, it's noble of you, Kif. As of now, you're in command. Congratulations, Captain.

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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby the_bandersnatch » Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:26 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:I love understanding Italian and hearing the coast guard bitch out the captain and tell him to get back on the fucking ship to assess the situation and needs of the endangered passengers.


This is the transcript for those of us who don't understand Italian, courtesy of the BBC (link):

Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera has posted what it says is a recording of a radio conversation on the day of the Costa Concordia disaster between Francesco Schettino, captain of the stricken ship, and Gregorio de Falco of the Italian coastguard in Livorno. It reveals how Mr De Falco repeatedly asked Capt Schettino to return to the ship. This translation into English was done by the BBC:

Gregorio De Falco: "Hello. Hello."

Francesco Schettino: "Good evening, captain."

De Falco: "Hello, I'm de Falco, from Livorno. I am speaking with the commander?"

Schettino: "I'm Commander Schettino."

De Falco: "Listen Schettino, there are people trapped aboard, you go with your lifeboat under the prow of the ship on the port side and you go aboard the ship using the rope ladder. You go aboard and you tell me how many people there are. Is it clear? I'm recording this conversation, Commander Schettino."

Schettino: "So, I'll tell you something..."

De Falco: "Speak louder."

Schettino: "Now, I'm in front of..."

De Falco: "Commander, speak louder, take the microphone and speak loud. Is that clear?"

Schettino: "Commander, right now the ship is skewed."

De Falco: "Understood. Listen there are people going down from the prow using the rope ladder; you take that rope ladder on the opposite side, you go aboard and you tell me the number of people and what they have on board. Is that clear? You tell me whether there are children, women or people needing assistance. And you tell me the number of each of these categories. Is that clear? Schettino, maybe you saved yourself from the sea, but I'll make you pay for sure. Go aboard."

Schettino: "Commander, please?"

De Falco: "Please, now you go aboard."

Schettino: "I am on the life boat, under the ship, I haven't gone anywhere, I'm here."

De Falco: "What are you doing, commander?"

Schettino: "I'm here to co-ordinate rescues."

De Falco: "What are you co-ordinating there? Go on board and co-ordinate rescues from on board. Do you refuse?"

Schettino: "No, no I'm not refusing."

De Falco: "You're refusing to go aboard, commander, tell me why you're not going."

Schettino: "I'm not going because there is another lifeboat stopped there."

De Falco: "Go aboard: it's an order. You have no evaluation to make, you declared abandon ship, now I give orders: go aboard. Is it clear?"

Schettino: "Commander I'm going aboard."

De Falco: "Call me from aboard, my rescuer is there at the prow of the ship. There are already dead bodies, Schettino."

Schettino: "How many dead bodies?"

De Falco: "I do not know. One for sure. You have to tell me how many."

Schettino: "Do you realise that it's dark here and we can't see a thing?"

De Falco: "And what, do you want to go home, Schettino? It's dark, so you want to go home...? Go on the prow of the ship, using the rope ladder and tell me what can be done, how many people there are and what are their needs. Do it now."

Schettino: "Here there is also the vice commander. I'm together with him."

De Falco: "Then go aboard together. Together. What's his name?"

Schettino: "Dimitri."

De Falco: "Dimitri what? You and your vice go aboard. Now, is it clear?"

Schettino: "Commander, I want to go aboard, but here there is the other lifeboat, there are other rescuers who stopped. Now I called other rescuers."

De Falco: "You've been telling me this for one hour. Go aboard. Go aboard. And you tell me right away how many people there are."

Schettino: "Ok commander."

De Falco: "Go, quickly."


Apparently the captain then did the exact opposite of what he was commanded and made his way to land, where he was then arrested.

I imagine his Vice looks like a human version of Kif.
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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby orthogon » Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:12 pm UTC

Is nobody anywhere on the xkcd forums discussing parbuckling? Is this the right place for it?
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby Paul in Saudi » Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:19 pm UTC

We talk of little else but parbuckling.

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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:22 pm UTC

It worked, so, yay.

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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby orthogon » Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:53 pm UTC

OK, so how do the caissons work to help the rotation?

The diagrams in the BBC story show the caissons above the waterline and already full of water; I can see how this would exert a clockwise moment as required, but they don't explain how the water got there. Conversely the Wikipedia article says that "valves on the sponsons were opened to allow seawater to flood into them and the increasing weight of the water in the sponsons[=caissons?] completed the rolling of the ship to the upright position at an accelerated pace, without further need of the winches and cables". If they're both correct, then the water would have to flow uphill; if Wikipedia is right and the water in the caissons isn't above the waterline then it will be neutrally buoyant and won't help to roll the ship; finally the BBC method would require the water to be pumped, but there's no mention of this in any of the press, whereas there are clear mentions of the valves being opened. The Parbuckling Project website doesn't offer any more enlightenment.

Are the sponsons not the same as the caissons? Does the water flow out of the ship's interior, rather than from the sea? It must be something like the last one, but the geometry in the diagrams looks all wrong if it's that.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby addams » Wed Sep 18, 2013 3:21 am UTC

I don't know any answers to your questions.
The time lapse from the BBC is interesting.

We do behave like insects.
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Busy, busy, busy.

The loss of one or thirty-five does not show on the surface.
That is a big piece of equipment.

If you have never been around boats, then you may not have a sense of the scale.
It is Huge! The salvage crew is good and it has taken a long time.

Five hundred specialized individuals working for nearly two years.
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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby jestingrabbit » Wed Sep 18, 2013 6:24 am UTC

orthogon wrote:OK, so how do the caissons work to help the rotation?

The diagrams in the BBC story show the caissons above the waterline and already full of water; I can see how this would exert a clockwise moment as required, but they don't explain how the water got there. Conversely the Wikipedia article says that "valves on the sponsons were opened to allow seawater to flood into them and the increasing weight of the water in the sponsons[=caissons?] completed the rolling of the ship to the upright position at an accelerated pace, without further need of the winches and cables". If they're both correct, then the water would have to flow uphill; if Wikipedia is right and the water in the caissons isn't above the waterline then it will be neutrally buoyant and won't help to roll the ship; finally the BBC method would require the water to be pumped, but there's no mention of this in any of the press, whereas there are clear mentions of the valves being opened. The Parbuckling Project website doesn't offer any more enlightenment.

Are the sponsons not the same as the caissons? Does the water flow out of the ship's interior, rather than from the sea? It must be something like the last one, but the geometry in the diagrams looks all wrong if it's that.


_69886870_costa624.jpg


Looking at this diagram here, the things bolted to the side are being called caissons, though the word sponsons seems more apt, given the definitions of the two words. I'm going to use the words as I would normally use them, so sponsons are bolted to side of vessels, caissons are underwater workspaces.

In frame one, setting up the underwater framework might have required what I would call a caisson, but the sponsons would be attached empty, for the ease of it. Then, to get to frame 2, you would need to pump to get them full.

From frame 2 to 3, the sponsons on the underwater side have magically appeared. They might have been attached at some time during the righting operation, or beforehand, using a caisson to provide a workspace, but that seems crazy to me. I would attach them after you got it righted on the underwater platform. Before you attached the stuff on the rusted side, you'd probably want the buoyancy of the already attached sponsons to be neutral, not stressing the ship anymore than it already is. Likewise, whatever I was attaching, would want to be neutral during the attachment phase, and buoyant as I was heading out. To get the buoyancy, I'd pump.

I don't think anyone knows how much extra buoyancy the ship will need though, its not really clear at this point whether it still has integrity, whether it can be pumped out and be more or less right by itself, or whether it will need a lot of help to stay righted.

So, that's my understanding of it all.
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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby orthogon » Wed Sep 18, 2013 4:46 pm UTC

Thanks - it looks like "caissons" was a mistake/mistranslation and "sponson" is the word we should be using. The port-side sponson is definitely going to be welded on now, following the parbuckling, now that the starboard side has been exposed.

I had another thought: suppose the sponsons start off empty and sealed. After a certain amount of rotation, the bottom of them would start to dip into the water, and their buoyancy would start to exert an anticlockwise (in the diagram) moment. If by cunning design this happened round about the tipping point where the centre of mass passes above the pivot (this looks roughly how it is in the diagram), it would stop the whole thing from tipping over under its own weight. (There is talk of a "holdback system", but this seems more focused on stopping it sliding down the slope.) There would be a new stable equilibrium with the empty sponsons just dipping into the water enough to counteract the moment arm of the ship's weight. Suppose you now open valves on the sponsons: they would start to fill with water and thus move the equilibrium point towards the upright. Using valves would allow this equilibrium to be adjusted gradually and in a controlled manner.

Perhaps there is a hybrid solution: you could start by pumping enough water into the sponsons to shift the centre of mass to the port side a bit, to help with the initial phase of parbuckling, then seal them until the later stages. Presumably the funnel was sawn off for the same reason.

I suspect that the plans might have developed during the last year or so, which might explain some of the discrepancies.
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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby orthogon » Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:43 am UTC

[Doubleposting to avoid necroedit. What is the correct etiquette?]

Refloating to begin.

In another strange development, they're "pumping air into the [sponsons]" rather than pumping water out. Any ideas?
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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby Clix » Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:47 am UTC

orthogon wrote:[Doubleposting to avoid necroedit. What is the correct etiquette?]

Refloating to begin.

In another strange development, they're "pumping air into the [sponsons]" rather than pumping water out. Any ideas?


Assuming some or all of the sponsons are under water pumping water out will just be replaced by more water or a vacuum, pumping the air in will force the water out leaving the air in. (warning, assumption with no real research behind it)
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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby orthogon » Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:59 pm UTC

Clix wrote:
orthogon wrote:[Doubleposting to avoid necroedit. What is the correct etiquette?]

Refloating to begin.

In another strange development, they're "pumping air into the [sponsons]" rather than pumping water out. Any ideas?


Assuming some or all of the sponsons are under water pumping water out will just be replaced by more water or a vacuum, pumping the air in will force the water out leaving the air in. (warning, assumption with no real research behind it)

I guess either way you actually need somewhere for the air to go in and somewhere for the water to go out. You could just have a hole in the top to let air in as you pumped the water out. If you're pumping air in, where does the water come out?
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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby Clix » Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:15 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
Clix wrote:
orthogon wrote:[Doubleposting to avoid necroedit. What is the correct etiquette?]
Refloating to begin.
In another strange development, they're "pumping air into the [sponsons]" rather than pumping water out. Any ideas?

Assuming some or all of the sponsons are under water pumping water out will just be replaced by more water or a vacuum, pumping the air in will force the water out leaving the air in. (warning, assumption with no real research behind it)

I guess either way you actually need somewhere for the air to go in and somewhere for the water to go out. You could just have a hole in the top to let air in as you pumped the water out. If you're pumping air in, where does the water come out?


My only guess on the pumping air in is to force out the water under the water line. (Liquid seeking their own level and the such)

Air will slowly be pumped into 30 tanks or 'sponsons' attached to both sides of the 290-metre Concordia to expel the water inside and raise the ship.

Besides a passing interest a while back I've not conversant in Marine Salvage. Just trying to apply my understanding of how things work to this. In reading I've seen references to both "pumping in air" and "pumping out water" (in the same article) so maybe it is a combination depending on where the sponson is situated.
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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:33 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
Clix wrote:
orthogon wrote:[Doubleposting to avoid necroedit. What is the correct etiquette?]

Refloating to begin.

In another strange development, they're "pumping air into the [sponsons]" rather than pumping water out. Any ideas?


Assuming some or all of the sponsons are under water pumping water out will just be replaced by more water or a vacuum, pumping the air in will force the water out leaving the air in. (warning, assumption with no real research behind it)

I guess either way you actually need somewhere for the air to go in and somewhere for the water to go out. You could just have a hole in the top to let air in as you pumped the water out. If you're pumping air in, where does the water come out?


Usually a hole in the bottom.

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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby eSOANEM » Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:38 pm UTC

I know that with yacht salvage the usual thing is to fill the cabin with what are basically balloons and then inflate them. The water then leaves through whatever hole(s) it came in through.

For these sorts of devices, they'd need valves and pumps at both the top and bottom (to let air out and in and to let water in and out respectively). When they're first filled with water to help pull the ship over, the bottom pump pulls water in and the top valve lets air out. When the ship's upright and it needs to be made buoyant, the bottom pump will pump water out whilst the top valve/pump will either just let air in or pump air in to reduce the load on the lower pump.

It'll definitely need two valve/pump things though (one above and one below the waterline at all points).
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Re: Cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground near Italy

Postby morriswalters » Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:52 pm UTC

Could it be because they can control the sponsons easier than they can control floatation on the ship? I would guess that they want to keep the center of gravity low so the vessel doesn't roll, again. And it only needs to float long enough and well enough to get it to the breakers. It is headed to the scrap heap isn't it?


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