The salvage of the Costa Concordia went so well that one almost forgets the tragic accident that set the whole operation in motion, that one stupid move to show off by driving the huge passenger ship close to Giglio Island in Italy that ended up killing 32 passengers. 

But the salvage job? Amazing! What a triumph! Cheers to the crews of Crowley’s Titan Salvage and Italian partner Micoperi. After about two and a half years, the battered hulk is gone, safely towed away and ready to be recycled.

The question now remains about what to do with the underwater platforms that were built to hold the vessel in place while rotating it upright and preparing it for towing. According to the Wall Street Journal, the platforms contain twice as much iron as the Eiffel Tower and are held in place by 45'-long stakes sunk into the seabed. Original plans called for their removal, so as to leave the area in its pre-wreck state. But now some Italians want to leave the platforms in place as an artificial reef that is sure to be popular with recreational divers. Proponents of this also claim that removing the platforms will do more harm to the environment. The Italian government reportedly is sticking with the removal plan.

Either way, the place will never be the same.

Meanwhile, in South Korea, the story of the ill-fated ferry Sewol continues to reveal both greed and incompetence. From pumping ballast water to compensate for severe overloading to the tragic failure to evacuate in a timely and orderly way, the Sewol saga evokes both anger and anguish as investigations and trials uncover more and more unscrupulous behavior of the owners and crew.

The Sewol is still sitting on the bottom and has yet to be salvaged. Somehow I don’t think the world will cheer when it’s finally refloated, as it did when the Costa Concordia was towed into the sunset by that impressive fleet of workboats.  

With a degree in English literature from the University of Washington (Go Dawgs!), journalism experience at the once-upon-a-time Seattle P-I, and at-sea experience as a commercial fisherman in Washington and Alaska, Bruce Buls has forged a career in commercial marine trade journalism, including stints at Alaska Fishermen’s Journal and National Fisherman, WorkBoat’s sister publications. Bruce spent 16 years as WorkBoat's technical editor before retiring in May 2015. He lives on Puget Sound’s Whidbey Island, about 20 miles north of Seattle (go 'Hawks!).