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Transportation Technology

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 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.

  • 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.

  • by deains ( 1726012 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @10:17AM (#38760622)
    If he's only there to reassure the guests, clearly he completely failed at his job precisely when it was needed most. What an absolute tool.
  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Friday January 20, 2012 @10:19AM (#38760656) Journal

    I just hate American hero-building

    Except I never said nor implied that Sully was a hero. He did his duty; nothing more and nothing less. From what I've seen of the man I think he'd be the first one to tell you that he's no hero. As for "hero-building", I will make no apologies for my countrymen when they choose to honor a man who saved 155 lives. It's not "hero-building" to honor such an achievement and I would tip my hat to him regardless of his nationality.

  • 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 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.

  • 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 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 curious.corn ( 167387 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @12:04PM (#38762152)

    Yeah and apparently this Schettino idiot was trying to impress a "not-so-hot-but-as-long-as-she's-willing-it's-ok" blondie (see over here []) to get some pr0n action.

    Apparently though, he guzzled a whole bottle of wine before heading for the bridge where he took command and sailed the damn thing like a plane acrobat on an airfield show.

    What an unmitigated idiot...

    Even if one wanted, to think of such a level of incompetent misery would he a hazard; a cheap scriptwriter wouldn't dare such obviousness. I can't find a link but when the story of the blondie came out, an italian cartoonist said that "reality has surpassed imagination", referring to the comparison between Berlusconi and Schettino.

    This whole story is such a paroxistically obvious to the point of stupidity anaphor... I'm blown away by it.

  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @12:28PM (#38762596) Homepage Journal

    I spent five years at sea. No captain can be on the bridge all the time. Godlike, though he may seem, even the captain has to shower, shit, and shave. If he doesn't visit the wardroom often enough, the rumbling of his gastro intestinal system can interfere with giving orders. The bastards even SLEEP like real human people.

    A captain who spends to much time on the bridge has a morale problem on his hands, because it's obvious to the junior officers that the captain doesn't trust them to do their jobs.

  • by Kozar_The_Malignant ( 738483 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @12:36PM (#38762714)

    Can't they just burn it?

    The following come to mind:

    • It's under water
    • It's worth money
    • Air pollution
    • Heat and fire damage to ship, which is repairable
    • It won't burn due to lack of O2

    Plus it's sitting in the middle of a Marine Sanctuary.

  • by tvsjr ( 242190 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @02:35PM (#38764952)

    Quite correct. Bunker C (type 6 fuel oil) is a thick black sludge similar in consistency to molasses and must be preheated above 200 degrees F before it becomes combustible.

    If you're going to have to pull it out and preheat it prior to burning, may as well load it on another ship and do something useful with it.

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