06 June 2014

Costa Concordia wreck to be broken up in Genoa:

A decision has been made to break up the ship in the northern Italian port, which, although not the cheapest, is the best equipped in the country for the job

The wreck of the Costa Concordia will be broken up in three stages following a controversial decision to hand the job to the Genoa Port Authority.

Although no official announcement has been made, leaks to the Italian press confirmed by TradeWinds sources reveal that Genoa will be officially appointed in an announcement scheduled for 16 June.

As TradeWinds reported prior to last week’s meeting to select a shipbreaker, there was mounting pressure from politicians in the provinces of Tuscany and Genoa to keep the work in Italy.

With at least 100 jobs to be created by the demolition project, competition for the business was intense.

The decision apparently had the support of Costa Cruises Group, although underwriters preferred the option of taking the wreck to Turkey, some EUR 60m ($82m) cheaper than the EUR 100m reported cost of dismantling the ship in Italy.

With the wreck removal and other insurance bills for the 114,000-gt Costa Concordia (built 2006) already running at $1.7bn, insurers are under pressure to keep costs down.

The Genoa deal almost certainly means that the Boskalis-controlled, 117,000-ton capacity semi-submersible heavylift vessel Dockwise Vanguard (built 2012) will no longer be used to move the wreck.

Instead, salvors Titan Salvage and Micoperi will manage the logistics of slowly towing the wreck by tugs on a five-day trip to Genoa after it has been refloated later this month.

The mayor of Tuscany has already complained that the five-day journey to Genoa is too risky and environmentally hazardous compared to the one-day voyage to the closer Tuscan port of Piom­bino.The potential impact is made worse because the vessel will be moved at the height of the tourist season.

But Genoa’s main advantage is that the port’s facilities, while not purpose-built for shipbreaking, are more suitable than Piombino, which would have needed considerable infrastructure investment to handle the project.

It is understood Genoa’s plan is to take the Costa Concordia to the Voltri terminal where, under phase one of the operations, the cruiseship’s internal structure will be removed to reduce the vessel’s draught from its current 18 metres to 15 metres.

From then on, the vessel can be moved alongside a quay where the bridge and other sections of superstructure can be removed, again decreasing the ship’s draught.

In the final phase, when the hull has been reduced to a suitable size, it will be floated into shiprepair facilities to be broken up.

By finally breaking up the hull in a repair dock, Genoa will be able to argue that it is complying with new European regulation on shiprecycling introduced this year.

In a separate recycling development, Ghana has become the second state after Norway to ratify the Hong Kong Convention on the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships.

France, which began the process of ratification, is also expected to shortly follow the European Council’s decision earlier this year to encourage member states to ratify the convention.

Source: trade winds news. 6 June 2014

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