Ship salvage should start from the top

Doug Wilson, in his letter to the editor, talks about what he thinks should be done about salvaging the Costa Concordia.


Nobody is asking, and raising the sunken liner Costa Concordia is of little importance to the people of Williams Lake, but if I were asked this is how I would do it.

First I would view the Costa Concordia not as a giant, somewhat hollow vessel lying on the seabed; I would view the vessel as a unit with hundreds of cells, the cells being, of course, the empty rooms.

Most salvage companies will be looking to lay straps under the vessel and then attach inflatable air bags to these straps, inflating these bags, until the ship rises off the bottom sufficiently to be able to tow the vessel to some shore repair facility. There is no question that this system will probably work fine. The major problem with this kind of work is that the divers have to work in a deep and dangerous environment, and if the vessel is not secured properly it could of course accidentally slip into deeper water.

I, on the other hand, would start my salvage operation from the top of the ship. I would start by putting inflatable airbags in the above water room/cells. I would start here to ensure that as I inflated air bags in the rooms/cells below the surface that my ship would come up slowly rotating and floating to the level. My divers would not have to work in depths much below nine meters as they installed inflatable airbags in the sunken room/cells. The airbags in the above water level room/cells would have been inflated in advance of the start of inflating the airbags in the room/cells below the surface. Having secured and anchored my ship to shore, I believe that my method of displacing water in the room/cells with airbags in those sunken cells and advancing these airbags deeper into the ship as the ship rose I would be able to slowly lift the ship, far safer for both men and machinery than exterior airbags can do it. Un-inflated neutral buoyancy air bag packages of about two thirds a metre by two thirds a metre by two metres long could be placed in individual room/cells connected to an air distribution system and then inflated. The ship unencumbered with exterior airbags, now floating with inflated airbags in the individual room/cells, could then be safely towed to dry dock.


Doug Wilson

Williams Lake

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chief Joe Alphonse
OP-ED: Williams Lake municipal, regional councils lack awareness on historical trauma

Systemic racism isn’t always obvious to those that are not experiencing it

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

The City of Williams Lake is asking for public feedback on whether it should explore the opportunity to host a Greater Metro Hockey League team in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake GMHL expansion questions, concerns, to be discussed later this month

If approved, the team would begin play in the fall of 2021

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second death reported in Kelowna General Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

A total of seven cases have been identified at the hospital: six patients and one staff

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

(File photo)
Kamloops Mountie bitten while arresting woman

The assault on March 1 is the latest in a string of incidents that have left local officers injured

Most Read