Concordia wreck

Collaboration in Costa Concordia wreck removal

Our organization was designated by the University of Rome “La Sapienza” to survey the waters around the wreck of Costa Concordia (Giglio Island), in order to measure the level of noise produced by the yard and to monitor the area to detect the presence of marine mammals


MMOs dolphin Since August 2012, our certified Marine Mammals Observers (MMOs) are working at the Island to spot sensitive wildlife species, to record and analyze the underwater noise (to assess its potential impact on marine fauna), to monitor adherence to the guidelines for marine mammals protection.

Spotting and identifying animals involves long hours of visual surveys. Detection of cetaceans with hydrophones  (known as Passive Acoustic Monitoring -PAM) is used in addition to visual surveys.

OceanomareDelphis MMOs have a strong background in marine biology and conservation. MMOs are independent observers: in circumstances where guidelines are open to interpretation or in particular environmental conditions, the MMOs may be called upon foradvise.

The Island of Giglio lies within the Pelagos Sanctuary for Mediterranean Marine Mammals, one of the Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance. Bottlenose dolphin, striped dolphin, Risso's dolphin, sperm and fin whale are the commonest species in the area.

Marinemammals are dependent on their hearing to exploit and investigate the environment, communicate, find a mating partner, catch prey and avoid obstacles. 

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The basic effect of an acoustic trauma is a decrease in hearing ability, or worsening of sensitivity threshold. Hearing losses are classified as temporary (TTS) or permanent (PTS) threshold shifts. Since intensity and duration can act synergistically to broaden the loss, long or repeated exposures to TTS levels may produce permanent hearing loss (PTS). This means that both level and duration of exposure may lead to acoustic damage.

Besides hearing capabilities, an increased background noise may severely affect the animals’ ability to perceive the environment, communicate, hear each other, and perceive the weak echoes of their biosonar pulses.

MMOs concordiaMMOs yard 

Noise produced by Costa Concordia yard is generated in a single location for a defined period of time, so constant verification that no animals are in the area or approaching it can prevent them from serious harm. This is achieved by combining visual observation and passive listening to underwater sound with suitable instrumentation.


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Our daily noise measurements are used to define an Exclusion Zone (EZ), if animals are sighted into the EZ the yard is immediately alerted and activities are interrupted. Following the international protocols, if no animal is sighted in 30 minutes, a "soft start" (gradual build up of works from a basal level ascending over a period of 20-45 minutes) allows animals to move away.

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