There’s an Italian scuba diver from the island of Giglio, where the partially submerged Costa Concordia lies, who is praying the cruise liner will sink. Why? Because Aldo Baffigi believes if it sinks it will attract scuba divers from the world over.
“Every night I light a candle and say a prayer for it to sink,” Baffigi, from Giglio, says of the ship on which 32 people died. “It would be the most popular shipwreck in the world. We wouldn’t know what to do with all the divers. It would be like manna from heaven.”
Costa Concordia off Giglio Island
Baffigi has a vested interest beyond simply hoping to meet other divers, he owns and operates a company called Deep Blue Diving College and conducts tours of shipwrecks and points of interest in the area. A sunken 290 meter ship with four swimming pools and 9 decks off shore will provide business. Will it happen? Despite the fact Titan Salvage of the U.S. is leading operations to remove the ship intact and sail from the area to a port where it will be salvaged – it will take up to a year – Baffigi believes there is a chance it will sink before that can happen.
As Reuters reporter Steve Scherer points out in a story that quotes Baffigi, most of the rest of the 1,500 residents of Giglio do not want the ship, which has been there since Jan. 13th, to sink and stay in the area, they want it gone.
Mediterranean Marine Sanctuary
The ship lies in a marine sanctuary with dolphins, whales, porpoises and other marine life. Smit Salvage, a Dutch company, safely removed the 2,300 tonnes of heavy fuel and 200 tonnes of diesel oil from the ship and debris from the ocean floor but Giglio’s mayor Sergio Ortelli, told Reuters there remains concerns about pollution. “We have the most beautiful undersea environments possible,” Ortelli said. “We don’t need anything artificial down there.”
That, however, isn’t holding water with Baffigi who says that, given Titan is now beginning the work to refloat it and remove it, he has begun to specify in his prayers what he wants. In order to dislodge the ship from the rocks it sits upon and send it to the bottom of the sea, where he and other divers can visit it, Baffigi says he’s praying for a “big storm.”