Key enviromental protection factors
The plan to re-float the hull in one piece gives top priority to minimising environmental impact, to protecting Isola del Giglio’s tourism and economy and to ensuring the safest possible working conditions.
Environmental protection will have top priority throughout this monumental salvage operation, the likes of which has never been attempted before anywhere in the world. Once removal is complete, the sea bottom will be cleaned and marine flora replanted.
Taking care of the sea bottom will be a priority throughout all activities to remove the hull.
Work in the field began on 27 June 2012. In this phase the priority was on recording the characteristics of the marine area, with a view to gaining the basic knowledge needed for final planning and identification of optimum approaches to reduce impact and subsequently perform check-ups on the effects and modifications caused.
A bionomic cartographic map of the sea bottom has been prepared on a joint basis with Università La Sapienza in Rome, with a view to protecting priority habitats in the area, including Posidonia Oceanica (Neptune Grass) meadows and coral formations.
The wreck is located in the Tuscan Archipelago National Park and “Pelagos” Whale Sanctuary, which is famous for the biodiversity of its habitat and frequent sightings of sea mammals.
To prevent environmental risks
Protecting the environment has been the key commitment from the outset. ARPAT (the Tuscan regional environmental protection agency) began monitoring water conditions around the ship immediately after the incident and will continue until the wreck has been removed. No significant pollution levels have been recorded so far.
Protecting the undersea environment and its inhabitants
La Sapienza University worked with Titan Micoperi group on its bid for the project. The Services Conference established the measures to take to protect the environment and the Observatory was charged with performing the work.
Sea bottom monitoring
Some habitats in the Mediterranean are more important than others because of their complexity and biodiversity (“priority habitats”). Posidonia oceanica, which grows at depths of between 1 and 30 m, forms thick meadows with a high level of biodiversity. At depths of between 30 and 80 m there are coral formations. The health of the undersea environment is kept constantly under control. About 200 specimens of pinna nobilis found near the wreck have been catalogued and transferred to another area, awaiting relocation to their original home when work is complete. The fish population has also been studied and three experts were called to take a census of marine mammals in the area.