There's still a lot of interest in the Costa Concordia salvage operation, which is the biggest of its kind. The most fascinating aspect is how much time and effort -and pollution - they avoided by retrieving the ship in one piece.
There is another animation of the Costa Concordia wreck here.
Ship retrieval is an advanced science, with its practitioners going back hundreds of years. It was much more common a hundred years ago for ships to wind up on rocks, destroyed and unseaworthy, and then the insurers who were on the hook had to figure out what to do.
|SS Princess in May 1910.|
|Another view of the Princess May at low tide - the Captain really hit the bulls-eye.|
The owners hired the world's expert on ship retrieval. After a lot of rock-blasting and other preparation, the expert managed to refloat the ship and get her in for repairs - not salvage. The ship sailed again, for twenty more years - now, they'd probably just scrap it automatically for liability reasons. Now that's a successful retrieval operation.
The Costa Concordia effort follows in those footsteps. While they had to break her up, the operation would have been infinitely worse if they hadn't had the massive equipment to tow her to the scrapyard. Any job is easy if you have the right tools, they say, and fortunately, they had the tools because of centuries of ship retrieval.