Nearly two years after running aground and capsizing off the Italian island of Giglio, the cruise ship Costa Concordia emerged from the Mediterranean on 16 September in a salvage effort described by the head of the cruise line’s technical team as “a perfect operation.”
Though the ship may not have emerged victorious – its submerged side suffered significant damage as a result of bearing the weight of the 114 000-ton vessel for 20 months – workers cheered and Giglio residents uttered sighs of relief at the successful outcome of the $800 million salvage project.
Using a technique known as parbuckling, salvage involved massive pulleys and a 500-person crew representing 26 countries in a 19-hour operation to roll the half-submerged ship off the rocks and heave it back to an upright position.
Leica Geosystems has been part of the Costa Concordia story since the early days following the ship’s capsizing. Working with Italy’s National Civil Protection team, Leica Geosystems supported Geohazard Monitoring Group, a member of the National Research Council, during the installation of a topographic monitoring system. This system was designed to handle the security of search and rescue operations and control the ship’s movements during the defueling phases. A part of the monitoring network is based on robotic total stations that measure the 3D movements and deformation of the emerged portion of the hull.
As part of the recent salvage effort, Leica Geosystems supplied two LeicaTM30 managed by the GeoMoS platform that every hour measured the position of 20 prisms installed on the Costa Concordia. During the last two days of the operation, the system measured five essential prisms to evaluate the torsion and rotation of the ship.
According to news sources, the Costa Concordia is believed to be the biggest ship to be hoisted back upright after capsizing. Hexagon and Leica Geosystems are proud to have been part of such a historic moment and celebrate the success of the operation along with the crew.