Last year, during exceptionally low tides at Tyrella Beach in Northern Ireland, a team from the University of Bristol, England, used advanced geophysical techniques to search for the spot where the SS Great Britain was grounded in 1846.
Designed by engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the SS Great Britain had been built of iron with a screw propeller for trans-Atlantic voyages and was the longest passenger steamship in the world at the time, according to the publication Archaeology.
On the ship’s fifth voyage to New York, a navigational error resulted in the grounding in Northern Ireland at Dundrum Bay, close to Newcastle, Co. Down.
The Italian government has approved towing the wrecked Costa Concordia to the Italian town of Genoa in mid- to late July. Some sources claim it will leave on July 14th. It will be lifted to the surface with “caissons.”
The ship has been turned (“parbuckled”) upright and is sitting on a manmade platform on the bottom of the shallow ocean.
Once the ship has been lifted, it will be towed 240 kilometers to Genoa, where it will be dismantled. Some parts will be recycled.
The trip from its location to Genoa is expected to take five days.
There has been concern over the environmental consequences of moving the ship. Sources claim moving the ship could risk shaking loose all kinds of debris and contaminants.
However, sources claim the risks of leaving the Costa Concordia in place are greater than the risks of moving it. As the ship decays and saltwater and waves crash against it, the likelihood of the ship cracking open and pollution fouling the waters off Giglio increases.
Italy’s environment minister Andrea Orlando stated that part of the reason for moving the ship to Genoa (as opposed to cheaper shipyards outside of Italy) was to limit the environmental impacts and retain any economic benefits.
Costa Concordia hit a reef off the island of Giglio on January 13, 2012, killing 32 people.