The Crazy Complex Project to Salvage the Costa Concordia Starts Monday

Removing the shipwrecked Costa Concordia has been a slow project. Crews finally flipped it upright last fall, and now the real challenge begins: taking it off the coast of Giglio Island to a port in Genoa for dismantling. Work starts Monday, and it's gonna be a doozy.

As of today, the ship rests upright on an underwater platform, wearing 30 water-filled metal tanks arranged along its flanks. Starting Monday, engineers will pump those tanks full compressed air, lifting the two hundred and thirty million pound ship up off the platform.

At first, the team will only lift the Concordia a few feet, to inspect its structure and see if it's solid enough to survive transport 150 miles to Genoa. But that voyage won't happen right away—first, the crews will have to move the giant boat about 100 feet further offshore for cleaning. After two and a half years spent semi-submerged, the food, fuel, and luxury accouterment left behind when the ship was evacuated has likely turned into a toxic mess of environmental hazards. And right now, the ship is loafing in a marine sanctuary.

Assuming the ship is solid enough for travel, and the engineers don't find any bizarre surprises when they lift it, the Costa Concordia will then take a leisurely 2 knot (2.3 MPH) jaunt to the port at Genoa, 150 miles away. At the end of the five-day voyage, the doomed juggernaut will undergo dismantling that will take several years.

The contract to demolish the doomed vessel came in at $275 million; that's on top of the hundreds of millions spent just to stabilize the boat. [The Parbuckling Project via Wired]

Image: The Parbuckling Project