North Coast maritime history buffs should take note of a CNN story reporting that early on Monday the process of righting the COSTA CONCORDIA began, and was completed 19 hours later (http://tinyurl.com/concordianews). You may recall it’s the cruise ship that, because of its captain’s negligence, ran aground and tipped over off the coast of Italy in 2012, killing 32.

Here’s the history part: This is the first time a ship of that size (952 feet, 114,000 tons) has been righted by parbuckling. The ship’s position is pictured in a still shot from a CNN video. The parbuckling salvage involved sinking portions of the ship deeper, then rotating the ship into an upright position on an underwater platform using anchor blocks, cement bags, caissons, strand jacks and, of course, giant cranes.

You can see how it was done here: http://tinyurl.com/concordiaup

Since the whole operation cost about $800 million, you’re no doubt asking “Why bother?” CNN says most ships of this size would normally be blown up or taken apart, but the ship is full of “noxious substances,” not to mention a lot of rotting food, and perhaps has two missing bodies in its hull.

Eventually, the contents will be removed, and the ship will be towed across the sea for dismantling. “At that time,” the article says, “Costa officials say they intend to remove personal effects from the staterooms and return those to each passenger, no matter how soggy.” Small comfort, no doubt.

— Elleda Wilson

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