Cornwall marine firm Fugro Seacore to play part in recovery of ill-fated Costa Concordia
A Cornish company has been awarded a major contract helping to right the stricken cruise ship Costa Concordia.
Fugro Seacore, a marine drilling company based in Falmouth, has already started work on the wreck of the giant ship, which partially capsized near the Italian island of Giglio a year ago with the loss of 32 lives.
Marine services business unit manager Sam Whitaker said it was a big job. "The sheer toughness of the granite seabed makes this a difficult task, but our Cornish team is very experienced and working as hard as possible.
"They have worked together on many similar drilling projects across the world for jetties, bridge foundations and offshore turbines, but this project is on an unprecedented scale.
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"Fortunately we have been fuelled by a healthy diet of pasta and pizza, but we're starting to miss a good Cornish pasty."
Raising the liner, which is twice as heavy as the Titanic, from two giant rock outcrops in the sea has been described as one of the toughest marine recovery operations in modern history.
The ship lies in a precarious position on the edge of a slope of rock and there are concerns that it could slide into a 100m deep water channel in the event of a severe winter storm. Divers have been employed to fix sub-sea drill templates, weighing over 200 tons, to the seabed to hold the drill bits in place to ensure the procedure is as secure as possible.
Fugro Seacore will drill the offshore foundations for six platforms, the three largest platforms equalling the size of a rugby pitch.
The Costa Concordia will then be rolled upright on to the platforms, before it will be re-floated and taken away from the protected Tuscan marine environment in which it lies.
A team of 12 local Fugro Seacore staff from Falmouth, Helston and Penzance has been working on a shift basis, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, while living on board a vessel moored next to the semi-submerged ocean liner.