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What To Do With a 1,000 Foot Wrecked Cruise Ship? 416

Hugh Pickens writes "What do you do with a 1,000-foot wreck that's full of fuel and half-submerged on a rocky ledge in the middle of an Italian marine sanctuary? Remove it. Very carefully. Stuck on a rocky shoal off the Tuscan island of Giglio, leaving the wreck where it is probably isn't an option but removing a massive ship that's run hard aground and incurred major damage to the hull involves logistical and environmental issues that are just as large. First there's the fuel. A half a million gallons of fuel could wreak havoc on the marine ecosystem — the ship is smack in the middle of the Pelagos Sanctuary for Mediterranean Marine Mammals. Engineers may need to go in from the side using a special drill to cut through the fuel tanks in a process called hot tapping. 'You fasten a flange with a valve on it, you drill through, access the tank, pull the drill back out, close the valve, and then attach a pumping apparatus to that,' says Tim Beaver, president of the American Salvage Association. 'It's a difficult task, but it's doable.' Then if it's determined that the Costa Concordia can be saved, engineers could try to refloat the ship and tug it back to dry dock for refurbishing. The job will likely require 'a combination of barges equipped with winches and cranes' to pull the cruise liner off its side then once the Concordia is off the rocks, 'they are going to have to fight to keep it afloat, just like you would a battle-damaged ship.' Another alternative is to cut the vessel into smaller, manageable parts using a giant cutting wire coated with a material as hard as diamonds called a cheese wire in a method was used to dismember the 55,000-ton Norwegian-flagged MV Tricolor. Regardless of how the Concordia is removed, it's going to be a difficult, expensive and drawn-out process. 'I don't see it taking much less than a year, and I think it could take longer,' says Bob Umbdenstock, director of planning at Resolve Marine Group."
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What To Do With a 1,000 Foot Wrecked Cruise Ship?

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  • by blane.bramble ( 133160 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @09:09AM (#38760002) Homepage

    It's the only way to be sure.

  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Friday January 20, 2012 @09:10AM (#38760008) Journal

    .... it may not advance the salvage process any but hey it can't hurt. This guy was the anti-Sully [] by all accounts. I wouldn't abandon passengers in my automobile after an accident; this guy is responsible for thousands of souls and abandons them to save his own ass. Pathetic.

    • by darkmeridian ( 119044 ) <> on Friday January 20, 2012 @09:23AM (#38760086) Homepage

      Don't forget that Captain Crunch ran the ship aground by taking a detour closer to an island where his chef was born.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 )

      Yeah, if the accounts I read are right, the local Coast Guard had to order him back to his ship.

      • by delinear ( 991444 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @09:31AM (#38760158)
        He had a perfectly reasonable explanation for that. He says he tripped and fell into a lifeboat [], and then was "stuck" there for an hour before it was lowered into the water. Now, before you say that's an unlikely explanation, imagine if the captain was Mr Bean.
      • by roothog ( 635998 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @09:38AM (#38760206)

        Not only did the Coast Guard order him back, but he refused the order. He gave excuses that included "it's too dark" and "but it's on its side".

        I can't fathom how such a pathetic human being ever made Captain. He is obviously tremendously unqualified.

        • by asliarun ( 636603 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @10:28AM (#38760768)

          Not only did the Coast Guard order him back, but he refused the order. He gave excuses that included "it's too dark" and "but it's on its side".

          I can't fathom how such a pathetic human being ever made Captain. He is obviously tremendously unqualified.

          One thing needs to be said here - The captain was probably qualified to manage and navigate a boat. However, you and many of the other critics on this thread wanted him to automatically be a *hero* as well, and found him wanting. I'm not trying to defend this guy, but I find it surprising that so many armchair critics demand such an incredibly high standard of professionalism and performance and even heroism from others. I'm not sure if it is Marvel comics to blame or the media that tries to invent its heroes at the drop of a hat, but really, aren't we all going a bit over the top here?? This is the same stupid media overhype that has wrapped a halo around every fireman and coast guard employee and emergency response worker.

          Everyone is doing a job to clock their hours, get paid, and go back home to their families with enough money to feed their loved ones. Professionals in every discipline display the same human strengths and weaknesses - varying levels of passion for their job, varying levels of professionalism and commitment, varying levels of hard work, varying levels of intelligence etc. Don't diss someone's screwup to such an extent that you make them the devil incarnate or Mr. Incompetent. Everyone, naysayer or supporter, will only discover their own levels of competence when they find themselves in the middle of a horrifying and paralyzing crisis like this.

          This guy was probably weak and lacked the capacity to handle a crisis of this magnitude, but let's also not fall over each other in making him out to be such an incompetent fool as well. Please also remember that in crises like these, most people also go into "Cover Your Ass" mode and usually look for a fall guy to pin everything on.

          We're falling into the same 21st century trap that the media has created and oversold - quick to judge and quicker to forget.

          • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @10:42AM (#38760950)

            BS. Part of any captain's job description is to act as a hero if disaster strikes.

          • by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @10:44AM (#38760992)

            Part of the job of a captain is to see to the safety of the crew and passengers. He failed at that. Failing at your job alone isn't enough for ridicule. The excuses he made, however, show that he is a failure as a man (or person, if you're going to be PC about it).

            And that does deserve ridicule.

            • by asliarun ( 636603 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @11:13AM (#38761430)

              Part of the job of a captain is to see to the safety of the crew and passengers. He failed at that. Failing at your job alone isn't enough for ridicule. The excuses he made, however, show that he is a failure as a man (or person, if you're going to be PC about it).

              And that does deserve ridicule.

              Fair enough, in this case, the captain was indeed worthy of ridicule. All I'm saying is that there may be more to this than meets the eye. I like reading and participating in /. because in general, the audience displays a high level of intelligence. You can see this manifest itself in posts that challenge the "basic premise" and are often trollish in nature, besides pedantic arguments about grammar and accuracy, My post was not a reply to the OP but a general statement that lately, /. posts have become more uni-dimensional in nature and is becoming more "mob-like".

              For example, the root cause in this case may very well have been a systemic organizational screw-up that others are now frantically trying to cover up. If the captain did indeed veer off the suggested course and was "showboating", was it because of personal reasons or was he mandated to do so as an unwritten rule?

              Again, please note that I am not trying to defend this guy - admittedly, his story and his excuses sound quite pathetic. I just didn't want this thread to become too one-dimensional. Plus, everyone is blaming the captain alone as if he was single handedly running the ship. What about the rest of the crew??

              • by gral ( 697468 ) <kscarr73&gmail,com> on Friday January 20, 2012 @11:41AM (#38761778) Homepage
                From what I have heard, the rest of the crew ended up being a couple of entertainers that stepped up rescue efforts and tried to calm everyone down for an orderly exit. The captain should not have left, that is a maritime (sp?) understood thing. His responses on the Coast Guard recording are cowardly, and you really have to wonder how he got the job as Captain. You can be sure that he will never have the chance again.

                I understand that the media has a tendency to vilify and expand on certain things in a story. This particular one there are recordings and other things that the public evidence seems to mounting fast.
              • There is a reason why this particular ship's captain is being charged with multiple counts of manslaughter... and I think not only will those charges likely stick but that his conviction is all but assured given what I've seen and read about. That is far more of a condemnation than simply being said that they aren't a hero.

                "Showboating"? He put the lives of a great many people into very real danger as a result of his deliberate orders and actions where he displayed not only a lack of fiduciary responsibility over his ship but also a lack of even remorse over the danger that he put his own crew and chartered passengers into. Simply put, he displayed no sense of responsibility for his actions.... a responsibility that he assumed when he accepted the position of captain. There is a reason why a ship's captain wears the extra stripes, has orders that are followed, and gets higher pay as well as some other posh perks (including apparently his choice of crew to share his bed at night based on several stories being circulated): when the proverbial stuff hits the fan it is his job to make the hard choices and that he needs to be consulted when any problem comes up.

                In any navy or maritime service, having a ship run aground is always rationale to relief the captain and possibly press charges against that person. It goes with the job. They are responsible for everything that happens even if they weren't the one who was directly at the helm or even the "officer of the watch" on duty at the time. The captain "owns" the ship because in turn the ship "owns" the captain. Anything and I mean anything that happens on the ship, in the ship, or to the ship by definition is the captain's responsibility to deal with and make sure nothing awful happens.

                If a screw-up happens because a crew members either doesn't or refuses to follow orders of the captain, it is up to the captain to discipline that crew member either himself or through his subordinates, and to know who in his command he (or she) can depend upon to have those orders followed. Just because this was a civilian cruise ship rather than a military vessel doesn't make that chain of command and line of responsibility any less important. If anything because it was a civilian ship with civilian passengers the responsibility of the captain is even more critical.

                More importantly, if the reports are correct about this ship, it was his orders that had the ship moving so close to shore, and he took a very relaxed attitude toward crew and passenger safety. In this case in particular, he might as well have been the person actually at the helm "single handedly running the ship" as he had multiple opportunities to avoid the fiasco that actually unfolded. As if running the ship aground wasn't bad enough, his actions after the incident were pathetic and are cause for increased scorn. This guy wanted the perks, but none of the responsibilities.

                At least the captain of the Titanic took it like a man and tried to organize chaos to ensure the safety of his crew and passengers even if he failed ultimately. That captain also went down with his ship. This particular captain of the Costa Concordia didn't even have the guts to do that and certainly didn't put the safety of his passengers above his own.

          • by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @10:45AM (#38761032)

            ...wanted him to automatically be a *hero*

            I don't buy that. Staying on the ship in fair seas and close to shore to see passengers evacuated *is* just doing your job and is in no way being a hero. It's something I would expect him to do, if for no other reason, from the guilt of knowing he was solely responsible for the disaster in the first place.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 20, 2012 @10:57AM (#38761238)

            There's a difference between this guy and the average office worker, though. When you take a job as a ship captain there's a certain level of prestige, but also a level of responsibility. You shouldn't get one without the other. Maybe his job 99.9% of the time is to look good and take photos with passengers, but after an accident (which he caused), his job was to see that those passengers got to life boats safely. If he wasn't prepared to take charge in an emergency, he shouldn't have been a captain. He failed at his job and people died because of it. I don't expect average Joe off the street to run into a burning building and be a hero, but this guy knew the risks when he accepted the position.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by error 303 ( 1289340 )
            The dude ordered dinner for himself and his mistress an hour after he ran the ship aground. [] It's not that he failed to live up to hero status. The dude was flat out incompetent.
          • by Deadstick ( 535032 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @11:26AM (#38761574)

            What Waffle said. A captain is ultimately responsible for the safety of his passengers, and his life is hostage to theirs. That responsibility comes with the pretty uniform and the big paycheck.

            Marvel Comics and the 21st century have nothing to do with it. This is a centuries-old social construct that makes it possible for ordinary people to subject themselves to the hazards of the sea with some degree of confidence.

            Good management skills? Understand spherical trigonometry? Good for you. Abandon your passengers to danger? Oops, you're a sorry failure as a captain and you should have been sailing a desk at the cruise company.

          • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @12:12PM (#38762296) Journal

            We're falling into the same 21st century...

            Okay, stop right there.

            The 20th century was the first one where captains weren't expected to go down with the ship. Prior to the late 1900's, any captain who didn't get off the ship last (after all the other passengers) was publicly labeled a coward by every official asked, and was often prosecuted for not sufficiently looking after his passengers' safety.

            The most famous shipwreck of all, RMS Titanic, had a captain (EJ Smith) who was on his last run before retirement (The White Star Line was sick of the guy bumping his ships into obstacles and other ships apparently, as he famously had done with RMS Olympic). Then ship met iceberg, Smith was indecisive for a very long time, the lifeboat loading was disorganized and haphazard for most of the incident, and when viewed even by the standards of the time, it was a general clusterfuck as far as evacuations go. OTOH, and to his credit, Smith didn't cowardly sprint for the first lifeboat and hop aboard, leaving the passengers to fend for themselves.

            That's right, folks - this guy in this recent crash is worse than the guy who captained the Titanic.

          • by laura20 ( 21566 )
            It's an established part of the job of the captain of a ship to remain on the ship and coordinate evacuation efforts until passengers have been evacuated. That doesn't mean they are supposed to go down with the ship, or even that they are responsible for every last one getting off -- sometimes it is impossible -- but it definitely means that while passengers are queued up for boats or going down ladders, you are supposed to still be on the ship, doing what you can.

            Note that the deputy mayor of Giglio, th

        • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:50PM (#38767216)

          So what's with the bimbo who's sticking up for him, anyway?

          As for being unqualified, somehow this doesn't surprise me. This is Carnival Cruise Lines, after all. It's the cruise line that's exclusively for drunks and cocaine users.

          I went on a cruise a few years ago in the Caribbean. While on shore in Belize, we hired a private driver for the day to drive us around and show us stuff. Very interesting character, even took us to his home, where we met his wife. Anyway, he made the comment that people from the cruise ships frequently want him to get them drugs, but that they aren't all the same, and it differs by cruise line. He said most people, of course, want marijuana, but that for some reason, the people from Carnival usually want cocaine.

          Just before I left, my own boss, who had just come back from a cruise his family made him go on (it was some kind of big family reunion), which was on a Carnival ship, made the comment, "what about all the drunks?", knowing that I'm not a drinker. Apparently his ship was full of sloppy drunks. On my cruise ship, I never met a single one. Why? I can only surmise that it was because of our choice of cruise line: we were on a Norwegian cruise. Even better, about 40% of the guests were Germans. Everyone on that ship was very well-behaved, unlike everything I've heard about Carnival cruises with American guests.

          It's not just Norwegian, however: my wife had previously taken a cruise (California/Mexico west coast) with Royal Caribbean, and said it was pretty similar; all the guests were well-behaved there too. Finally, my wife has an ex-friend who's a giant drinker, thinks the only way to have fun is to get totally drunk, and loves to go on cruises. Her cruise line of choice? Carnival.

          So from my limited anecdotal data, it seems that Carnival, at least here in the Americas, attracts a very bad crowd. With a clientele like that, I can see how they'd cut corners in their staffing too.

    • by lemur3 ( 997863 )

      Despite the actions of the captain the odds of surviving this incident were about 99.2%

      If he had gone down with the ship I have to wonder if it could possibly get any better than a 99% survival rate.

      Clearly the people involved in the evacuation, even without the management of a ships captain, were very capable.

      While responsibility for the ship and the passengers remains on his shoulders of the captain I wonder if the idea of the captain going down with the ship has become a bit antiquated.

      Considering the dr

      • by roothog ( 635998 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @09:44AM (#38760236)

        There are crewmembers quoted in the press as stating that if the evacuation had been ordered immediately, the survival rate would have been 100%.

        The evac didn't even start until more than an hour after the collision. The bridge had been notified by the commander of the engine room that there was a 160 foot long hole in the side and that the ship could not be saved, but chose to tell passengers that it was an electrical problem and they should return to their cabins. Then the captain makes it worse by ordering a turn after taking on water, which then sloshes, tipping the boat and hindering lifeboat launch.

        They pretty much did the exact opposite of everything they should have done.

      • by roothog ( 635998 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @09:51AM (#38760298)

        Clearly the people involved in the evacuation, even without the management of a ships captain, were very capable.

        <sarcasm>Yes, this sounds like a completely capable crew.</sarcasm> Read: BBC News []

      • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Friday January 20, 2012 @10:06AM (#38760460) Journal

        possibly bygone conception of the role of a captain of a vessel.

        It's not a bygone conception; when you take charge of passengers (be you the pilot of an airline, the captain of a ship or the driver of an automobile) you are assuming responsibility for their lives. You don't abandon your post during a crisis until every last one of them is safe. I could not look at myself in the mirror if I left a passenger in my car to die and I'm not in responsible for four thousand souls.

        Clearly the people involved in the evacuation, even without the management of a ships captain, were very capable.

        Actually they weren't. The ship never sent an SOS -- the Italian Coast Guard only knew of the disaster because the ship was close enough to shore for passengers to use their cell phones. Read this op-ed []; he summarizes it far more eloquently than I can.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 20, 2012 @10:23AM (#38760702)

        A captain should not go down with his ship, but he and three other high ranking officers were in one of the first lifeboats that abandonned ship. Even if you cannot stay on the ship, because there is simply too dangerous or ineffective to stay, you still need to be in the vincinity, to coordinate the resque operation, together with the Coast Guard. The captain should know his ship and he should be able to give instructions to the coast guard and his crew to help the resque operation. This guy even ordered a meal at one of the restaurants on the ship after he drove his ship against the wall. Afterwards, he lied to the Coast Guard twice, they ordered him back to the ship, he told him he would do so, but instead ordered a taxi...

        From what I've read, the videos that were published and the comments of many survivors, the crew was all but well organized. Maybe, because they also lacked some clear orders. They only started evacuating hours after the initial accident, probably even without a real evacuation order. They even didn't send any kind of emergency signal to the coast guard. The coast guard apparantly got informed by a scared passenger, not by the captain.

        In fact, if the captain and the higher ranking officials would have called all passengers and crew on board to the higher decks and start evacuating the vessel within an hour or so after the innitial accident, nobody would have died and probably noone would even have been seriously injured.

        The relatively high survival rate here is primarily due to the fact that the accident occured close to shore and the up-to-date emergency equipment on-board, combined by a few that actually took their responsibility. Because of the size of the ship and the dramatic looks of the wreck and the renewed interrest due to the 100th anniversary, it is often compared with the HMS Titanic. I guess if the same officers that commandeered this vessel would've commandeered the Titanic, nobody would have survived. Also, I guess that, if this same captain would have an iceberg collision at high sea, the death toll would be in the hundreds or more...

        Back to the main topic. Like most people around here, I'm not a salvaging expert, but I guess that dissecting such a large vessel in it's current unstable position, will be extremely costly and very dangerous. Also, by cutting into it, you will probably expose more of its innards to the fragile ecosystem around it. The large damaged part in the bow seems to be exposed. So I guess, after you pumped out the fuel and god rid of all the loose stuff that's easily accessible, you could just temporarily seal it, either by welding something over it or by injecting some kind of foam into it and then refloat the wreck and tow it back to a shipyard.

      • While responsibility for the ship and the passengers remains on his shoulders of the captain I wonder if the idea of the captain going down with the ship has become a bit antiquated.

        Noone expected the captain to "go down with his ship".

        Some of us expected him to do his job, which includes being responsible for the safety of his passengers and crew.

        Running screaming like a little girl for a lifeboat at the first sign of trouble isn't being responsible for anyone buy himself.

  • by realsilly ( 186931 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @09:11AM (#38760012)

    And you can go on the ride where you pretend to be the captain who was thrown from the ship which lands in the water unharmed.

  • by Captain Hook ( 923766 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @09:14AM (#38760028)
    "What do you do with a 1,000-foot wreck that's full of fuel and half-submerged on a rocky ledge in the middle of an Italian marine sanctuary?" I do like these hypothetical questions, but we never get to see if they actually work in real life, so I've stop thinking about them.
  • Take the fuel.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by malkavian ( 9512 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @09:16AM (#38760038)

    Then set it up as an artificial reef, and have businesses set up to get divers to it. Not sure the decontamination would pay off in the near term, but it'd be an interesting option.

    • I think I read somewhere that it is fairly near a ledge so I imagine it would be unsafe for divers to be regularly going inside it.
      I guess they could secure it to the rocks it's on though.
    • Re:Take the fuel.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Friday January 20, 2012 @09:26AM (#38760126) Journal

      The problem with that is there are other toxic substances aboard a ship besides fuel. It took two years (never mind the time spent procuring approval from various interested agencies) to prepare the USS Oriskany [] as an artificial reef. It was done while she was in port, not lying on her side half submerged while subject to tidal and wave influences. A modern cruise ship probably has less toxic substances aboard than a warship built in the 1940s (the Essex class carriers used asbestos as fire insulation and PCBs in their electrical cabling) but she still isn't safe for disposal in a marine sanctuary.

      The owners may well want to salvage her for a possible return to service too. Not sure if that's feasible with the damage she absorbed (any marine engineers who care to weigh in?) but the owners doubtless want to recover their $400 million investment.

  • Obvious (Score:5, Funny)

    by villew ( 2018258 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @09:16AM (#38760044)
    Turn it into a water-cooled data center.
  • Patch (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Polybius ( 743489 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @09:18AM (#38760050)

    Plan A:
    1) Pump all the fuel out of it.
    2) If there is a hole in the down side of the hull patch it from the inside.
    3) Patch any holes on the top side of the hull.
    4) Get as many pumps as possible pulling water out of the thing. while you gradually inflate large air bags under it.
    5) Ship pops back up, tug it anywhere you want.

    Plan B:
    Hundreds of millions of ping pong balls.

  • Another idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by neokushan ( 932374 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @09:24AM (#38760100)

    Right the ship, drain the fuel and leave it there. You only have to stop it from sinking, you don't need to make it seaworthy. There you have it, a top-notch hotel in a prime location with every facility you could possibly need.

    Just try not to think of the people that died there. People die in hotels all the time, right?

    • Re:Another idea (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @09:38AM (#38760208)

      You know what bothers me about that? It's not that people died there. It's that they're profit from those deaths.

      Actually, though, cruise ships don't have many luxury rooms. Most of them are barely good enough to sleep in. Most of the time you spend on a ship is not in the room. So as a hotel, it's a loss.

      And as a vacation getaway, it's missing the 2 things a cruise ship is really good for: Gambling and shore excursions.

  • The ship capsized away from the damaged area. Secure the vessel. Weld a big patch over the damage (and optionally over the rock if it can't be removed), and over any other holes they've made during the rescue operation and then refloat the thing. It can be towed anywhere after that.
  • And after you're all done righting the ship and making it seaworthy, you can advertise haunted ghost cruises. Costa Concordia Corpse coming to theaters near your in 2014!
  • from wikipedia:
    "The chief drawback to residual fuel oil is its high initial viscosity, particularly in the case of No. 6 oil, which requires a correctly engineered system for storage, pumping, and burning. Though it is still usually lighter than water (with a specific gravity usually ranging from 0.95 to 1.03) it is much heavier and more viscous than No. 2 oil, kerosene, or gasoline. No. 6 oil must, in fact, be stored at around 100 F (38 C) heated to 150 F (66 C)–250 F (121 C) before it can be easily
  • Hot Tapping (Score:5, Informative)

    by trout007 ( 975317 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @09:49AM (#38760280)

    This is used in the pipeline industry when you need to put a new port or hole on a pipeline but don't want to shut it down.

    Here is a little video. []

  • by Bill_the_Engineer ( 772575 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @09:56AM (#38760338)

    Debunker (pump out) the fuel from cruise ship to bunker barges. From there they can either:

    1. Cut the vessel into easier to handle parts and load the still quite large size parts onto a vessel designed for carrying other vessels like the ones from Dockwise. The parts will then go to a scrap yard.

    2. Attempt to float the vessel using buoyancy bags to where if could be either loaded on the Dockwise ship or onto a portable dry dock where it can be disassembled.

    Seriously a year to remove the vessel? Accidents like these aren't a rare occurrence, there is a whole cottage industry that handle these situations.

  • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @10:00AM (#38760386)

    Commonly used for pipeline repair, it can involve welding a pipe flange to a full, even pressurised line or container of flammable liquid or gas. The trick is not to blow through the wall. The product cools the container side of the weldment. A cutter head is attached then connected to your equipment of choice. Mechanical connection of hot tap flanges is also done. [] []

    It can even be done on BURNING railroad tank cars to offload product. WaPo link in this thread no workee but the others are good. Check the procedure in the .pdf []

    Example equipment: []

    Flooding to "float" petroleum for recovery: []

  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @10:08AM (#38760478) Homepage

    (to the tune of "Drunken Sailor")

    What do we do with a washed-up cruise ship, (x3)
    Early in the morning?

    Suck out the fuel 'til she rolls right over, (x3)
    Early in the morning.

    Lock up the captain with Big Bubba (x3)
    Early in the morning.

    Steal all the swag and give to the poor (x3)
    Early in the morning.

    (There's a few verses, make up some more of your own - it's a folk song after all.)

  • by Xenna ( 37238 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @10:44AM (#38761002)

    A salvage expert (former CEO of the leading company in that field Smit Tak) says it can't be done in the following Dutch newspaper article (google translated): []

  • MV Tricolor (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BeardedChimp ( 1416531 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @10:47AM (#38761056)
    I found some interesting pictures [] of the MV Tricolor. I tried to find a video of the cutting process in action but failed. Does anyone know how this "cheese wire" actually works?
  • I was wondering where these free market no regulation fanatics are hiding now. In every discussion about government and taxes they ooze out of the wood work, screaming, "Govt is the problem not the solution", "Free markets will solve all problems efficiently".

    Here we have a problem, a foundered ship. If the owner declares bankruptcy and walks away then who is responsible for clearing this wreck? Corporations create new corporations to do their business operations. The child corporations constantly send profits up to the parents, while carefully retaining all liabilities. They maintain just enough assets to keep the credit lines open. The moment something goes wrong, the child corporation sends any remaining assets back to the parent. It does not declare bankruptcy promptly. It waits for the claw back period to elapse, and allow enough time for the parent corporations to shuffle money further afar so that it can't be clawed back from the parent corp or even the grandparent corp either.

    Such business practices are actually the most logical and rational thing to do in a free market. They will argue if they do not do that, their competitor would do it and undercut them. It is a tangible ship wrecked off a beautiful island this time. But in countless instances it is pollution created by mining or industrial chemicals are as stranded as this wreck. But somehow the public falls for extreme arguments like, "Eliminate EPA".

  • by JSBiff ( 87824 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @11:53AM (#38761980) Journal

    I know, I know, at first blush, it sounds insane - Nuclear Reactors in a *passenger* vessel? Wouldn't that be a worse environmental disaster in a shipwreck?

    But, there's a guy named Rod Adams who started a company (which he had to shutdown a few years ago because of lack of investor confidence) who proposed using small, nitrogen cooled pebble bed reactors in cargo and cruise ships.

    Pebble Beds actually have several advantages over anything else I've ever heard of for maritime propulsion:

    * They are melt-down proof. They simply can't melt down.
    * They are very, very unlikely to set on fire (they are made from a special grade of graphite which needs to reach insanely high temperatures to set on fire - temperatures which the pebbles physically *cannot achieve* from fission.

    *The fuel "pebbles" have further containment - the fuel itself is contained in many small 'particles' embedded within the graphite sphere, where the uranium fuel itself is encased in fireproof silicon carbide, inside the graphite.

    Worst case scenario: The ship loses some or all pebbles in the water. Water is a great radiation shield - a few meters of water will stop all radiation. So, in essences, you have some fairly hot (temperature-wise) "pool balls" on the seabed, heating up some of the nearby water a few degrees. The actual radioactive material is so contained it will not leak out into the surrounding water.

    Much, *much* better than the petroleum fuels currently used in cargo and cruise ships. Plus, the ship would only need to be refueled once every few years, and the fuel would be a lot cheaper than the many millions of tons of petroleum fuel these ships currently consume over time.

  • by macshome ( 818789 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @12:09PM (#38762248) Homepage
    You could always just pump it out and leave it there like they did with the MS World Discoverer. []
  • by Fned ( 43219 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:09PM (#38766612) Journal

    What do you do with a sunken cruise ship?
    What do you do with a sunken cruise ship?
    Earlye in the morning!

    Waaaay haaay and up she rises
    Waaaay haaay and up she rises
    Waaaay haaay and up she rises
    Earlye in the morning!

Order and simplification are the first steps toward mastery of a subject -- the actual enemy is the unknown. -- Thomas Mann