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South African man in charge of Costa Concordia salvage

September 17, 2013

Over a year after it sank off the Italian island of Giglio, engineers managed to raise the Costa Concordia cruise liner from the depths of the ocean, according to CNN. It was a massive  undertaking that involved 500 different people who hailed from 26 nations. People living in South Africa have a good reason to discuss this effort while using phone cards, because the leader of the salvage project was a native from the country.

Raising the ship
The effort to raise the Costa Concordia began at 9 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 16. Engineers and crew members worked through the night to bring it up from the bottom of the sea. At first, there was concern that it wouldn't happen on schedule due to thunderstorms and technical issues, but by Tuesday morning, they had made sincere progress. The ship had been pulled upwards by about 25 degrees, which allowed the team to roll the hulk on a steel platform using massive steel boxes weighted down with seawater.

"She is standing upright better than anyone thought she would be," Nick Sloane, the senior salvage master who is a South African native, told the news source. "When she started moving, she moved slowly but surely. There was no twisting at all. It was exactly as the plan said it would be."

Fortunately, crew members saw no evidence of leaks on the ship, which means the contaminated food and toxic chemicals inside the cruise liner likely did less damage to the ecosystem than some feared.

More about the leader
Titan Salvage, a U.S. company, teamed up with Micoperi, an Italian firm, to figure out a way to raise the massive ship. Together, the two businesses chose Sloane as the leader of the effort. According to the AFP, Sloane has years of experiences working with shipwrecks and is a professional salvage master.

Sloane was on site the entire time giving orders to the crew members, divers, engineers and other members of his team. It was the first time a salvage of a cruise ship so large had taken place, and it looks like Sloane proved his skills.

Though the ship has been raised out of the water, it will remain in place for some time. Cold weather and storms will delay the removal of the Costa Concordia until spring of next year, the news source reports. 

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