SEAHORSE- Something Extraordinary -Giovanni Ceccarelli and the Costa Concordia

Seahorse Copertina

 SEAHORSE– Something Extraordinary -Giovanni Ceccarelli and the Costa Concordia

The whole world saw the time-lapse video of the Costa Concordia’s

righting operation on television: it was a mammoth task on a

scale never attempted before, the consequence of some great

teamwork. This also included well-known Italian raceboat designer

Giovanni Ceccarelli (who designed ACC yachts for Mascalzone Latino

and +39 Challenge), who proposed the original rotation and refloating

solution to contractors Titan Micoperi.

But why was a well-established yacht designer onboard the

Micoperi 30 crane platform, helping to direct the recovery operation

of the giant Costa Concordia? ‘I understand the surprise of

those who know Ceccarelli Yacht Design for all of the sailing and

motor yachts we have designed since the 1950s, when the firm

was founded by my father Epaminonda,’ says Giovanni.

‘However, in our many years of work CYD have also designed

a number of marinas and offshore platforms. But the real reason

why I’m currently here is more emotional: when the accident occurred

I thought – and I was not alone in this – that the whole Italian

seafaring culture had taken a very hard knock in terms of how

we are regarded on the global stage. Therefore, I had the idea

that it was Italy who should now find the solution for the removal

of the wreck.

‘This is the largest operation of its kind ever attempted, so

there was no specific know-how already in place. At the time we

started work I also didn’t even have much knowledge about salvage

companies in general.’

Ceccarelli’s role is engineering manager. ‘I am the person

who co-ordinates all the various engineering activities,’ he explains,

‘and who shares the strategic choices with the client – the ship

owner Costa Crociere – and with the senior salvage master,

Mike Sloane, the man who is ultimately responsible for righting and

refloating the vessel.

‘Sloane is also himself a racing yachtsman. He is a South African

and was involved in the initial stages of the Shosholoza challenge

in addition to taking part in a leg of the Volvo Ocean Race.

These shared roots give the two of us more affinity when we are

working side by side.

‘Going back to my own role, I had the original idea for the project’s

solution that has since been employed, but it was then of course

engineered by pretty much everyone involved. This is not just a

project for marine engineers, environmental or civil, but it is an

undertaking to which all these figures contribute, with the addition

of numerous other professions, including several top-level structural

engineers.’

So has the experience of yacht design and sailing been of

help in some creative problem solving? ‘The approach to this

giant problem has demanded successful innovation on every single

day and at every single level,’ says Ceccarelli .

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