​Concordia Final Voyage: Biggest Salvage Operation In History

Staff Reporter
Jul, 21, 2014 | 9:57 AM

The Costa Concordia final voyage is making its way to a shipyard, leaving the Italian island of Giglio. Workers will begin towing the large cruise ship on Monday. The Costa Concordia has been a thorn for Italy ever since it sunk in the waters off its coast in 2012. The vessel will be eventually be broken up into scrap.

Deck 5 of the giant cruise ship has completely emerged from the sea and about two metres remain for Deck 4 to refloat, the salvagers said.

As technicians carried out the salvage operations on the wreck, in Giglio port, a German couple relived the events of the night the Concordia sank, killing 32 people. Shipwreck survivors Helmut Buttkus and Ilse Mari Kischlat had a lucky last-minute escape from the tilting luxury liner.

“The most critical moment for me was when we boarded the lifeboats and it went down along the side of the Concordia which was already tilted. It went down by two or three metres until the ropes reached their limit. They were not long enough, so they had to be disconnected and everything fell down sharply,” recalled Buttkus.

“I was watching the side of the ship sliding quickly and thinking that if the raft overturns, it’s all over for us, we will not survive.”

The husband and wife wanted to return to Giglio before the Costa Concordia final voyage.

“I am here to say goodbye to the Costa Concordia, on which our second lives started,” said Kischlat. “Many things from that night are coming back to my mind only now, that we are here in Giglio, despite the fact that we often speak about what happened,” she added.

Meanwhile, new footage was released of the interior of the wreck by the Grosseto court, shot by court inspectors gathering material for the trial of Concordia captain Francesco Schettino.

The Costa Concordia final voyage is one of the last chapter’s to a long salvage operation, but not for the captain. Schettino is on trial accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship. He is fighting the charges.

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