Midfielder Michael Doughty starts for QPR at Huddersfield, replacing Karl Henry.Henry is unavailable for the match because he is expecting the birth of his child and Rangers are also without Clint Hill and Sebastian Polter, who have been laid low by illness.Polter’s absence means summer signing Tyler Blackwood is among the substitutes.QPR: Green, Perch, Onuoha, Hall, Konchesky, Faurlin, Doughty, Luongo, Phillips, Chery, Austin. Subs: Smithies, Furlong, Kpekawa, Comley, Hoilett, Emmanuel-Thomas, Blackwood.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
Divers from the Italian Navy’s Operational Divers Group (GOS) prepare to search underwater for survivors of the capsized Costa Concordia in January 2012. (Image: Italian Navy GOS) • Captain Nicholas Sloane Senior Salvage Master Costa Concordia Removal Project +27 83 648 2649 [email protected] • South African women marine pilots make history • Ships pitch in for 2010 • Mercy Vision: sight to the blind • Cooperating to cut down piracy • Durban reels in its biggest fishMelissa Jane CookThe wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship began her final voyage on 23 July, after spending more than 600 days partially submerged near Isola del Giglio, Italy. The wreck is being towed to the north-western Italian port of Genoa, where she will be dismantled for scrap.The city is home to the ship’s owner, Costa Crociere Spa, and the trip will take four days. The Associated Press reported that boat sirens wailed and bells tolled on the island just before two tugboats pulled the Concordia away from Giglio’s port.Accompanying the tugs and Concordia, moving at two knots, or 3.7 kilometres an hour, are several boats to monitor any pollution in the waters, which are home to dolphins. Nets have been attached to the sides of the liner in case any remnants of the last passenger cruise, such as dishware, pots and pans, bed linen, chairs and other furnishings, tumble out.The cruise ship capsized after striking a reef on 13 January 2012, killing 32 passengers and crew members. A South African has been at the helm of the greatest salvage of all time: Captain Nicholas Sloane is the senior salvage master on the Costa Concordia Removal Project. The complex salvage operation, for which a technique called “parbuckling” was used, was the largest and most expensive in history. The actual parbuckling took 19 hours, and when it was complete, the ship’s horn sounded above the crowd’s shouts and cheers.A week after she was refloated, the Costa Concordia was slowly raised off the reef for her final journey.Tragedy struckThe Costa Concordia was sailing in the Tyrrhenian Sea with more than 4 200 passengers and crew when she struck rocks off the Italian island of Giglio, ripping a 48.7m gash in her hull. The ship began to list and soon lost power when the engine room flooded. Despite the growing disaster, the order to abandon ship was not issued for more than an hour. The evacuation took more than six hours. In all, 32 people were killed, and the body of one presumed victim, Indian waiter Russel Rebello, was never found. A search for his body on the seabed, where the ship lay, will begin on Friday.Removing the Concordia and taking her to Genoa would cost $2-billion, Costa Crociere chief executive Michael Tamm said. The ship, which first sailed in 2005, cost about $570-million.Watch the 19-hour raise of the Costa Concordia, in 2 minutesSalvage challengesSloane said the Costa Concordia was the biggest ship ever salvaged with the use of external buoyancy only. “This means placing 32 sponsons around her like arm-bands on a kid to swim [water-wings].”Her location made the feasibility of such a technique almost impossible, and most other salvage companies around the world said that it could not be done, citing various reasons.“First, we had to support the ship on the edge of the underwater cliff – so that she could not fall down into deeper water. She was resting on two outcrops – roughly 100 metres apart – so we had a valley of 100m wide, with a depth of up to 25 metres beneath the ship’s hull. There was no support for 100 metres to the bow or 100 metres to the stern,” explained Sloane.“We had over 120 divers placing grout bags on the seabed [and] then filling them with grout cement. Over 24 000 tons of grout was used and the finished result had to be as good as a bed mattress – to support the Concordia when we parbuckled her last September.”He said that once parbuckled, “she came to rest on six platforms – three large platforms under her belly and three smaller ones under her stern section. The bow was supported by a huge neck brace, allied a blister tank. These were 6 500 cu/m [cubic metres] of buoyancy to support her weight forward of the reefs.”Drilling into the granite rock was extremely difficult, given the angle 25 to 35 degrees and the need for accuracy – the holes had to fit the legs of the platforms, which were being made all around Italy. The hole diameter was two metres and the drill head weighed over 70 tons, but the legs fitted perfectly once the platforms arrived.The weather added to the difficulty, Sloane said. Over the winter seasons it was far worse than predicted, “with three times 10-year storms encountered we lost almost 100 days the first winter alone, on the drilling programme”.Watch the South African salvage master make historyPeople on the jobSloane said that getting the right people to carry out the project, and stay with it as continuity was vitally important, was a big part of its success. “To develop a long-term salvage plan, and then be able to adapt it at short notice without having a negative impact on other phases of the project, requires a core team that can follow the changes and then drive the changes to get off the critical path.”There were up to 530 people working on it in 2013, with 325 this year, from 26 nationalities, which added to the difficulties.Dedicated to the jobA job of this nature does not offer regular hours and Sloane said that it had been very difficult for him to be away from his family for such long periods of time. “Being away from my wife, Sandra, and children, Nicola, Johnathan and Julia-Raine, is extremely difficult. Normally a salvage operation is over in in five to 10 weeks, with wreck removal taking longer, but seldom more than a year. This project has been very demanding and has kept me away from them a lot, maybe only had three months at home in 27, with them visiting me here for a few weeks in school holidays.”A love for the oceanWith a deep love of the sea, Sloane maintains that salvage is his calling; he is incredibly passionate about his profession. “I always loved the sea, water, so I went into the Merchant Navy in 1980, with Safmarine, on general cargo ships, bulk carriers and containers ships. After the Castello del Belver in 1983, I found out that Saftug was a division of Safmarine, and requested a transfer. I found the salvage towing and offshore sector of the maritime industry far more attractive for me and have been involved in it ever since,” he said.Francesco Schettino, the Italian captain of the Concordia, is on trial in Tuscany, the sole defendant. He stands accused of multiple manslaughter, causing the wreck and abandoning ship while hundreds of passengers and crew were still aboard the badly listing liner. He claimed the reef was not on the liner’s nautical charts.The calamity will never be forgotten. “Every time I walk on board and around the ship, it feels very eerie and makes you realise how tragic the whole incident was,” said Sloane. “It is something that I will never forget.”
Average annual salaries for skilled construction workers were up in the three-year period between 2015 and 2018, with at least one job category showing a gain of 20%, a survey from the National Center for Construction Education and Research found. Salary information in 32 job categories was submitted by 132 organizations that represent 353,503 U.S. employees, NCCER said. For an industry that is facing an uphill battle in attracting young people into its ranks, the news of rising wages comes at a good time. The survey doesn’t directly address how wages have changed for residential construction workers because it’s focused on companies that do commercial and industrial work. Many job types in that part of the industry have no direct comparison in residential work. For example, there are no instrument fitters, industrial coating mechanics, or tower crane operators working on houses.RELATED ARTICLESTackling the Skilled Labor ShortageSolar Installer Will Train Its Own ElectriciansConstruction Training Gets a Boost from Home DepotConstruction Jobs Continue to Go Unfilled But the survey included several job categories that are typical on residential job sites. Here’s how they changed between 2015 and 2018: Plumbers: A 15% gain to an average of $59,627 in 2018. Carpenters: Up by 5.9% to $56,877. Electricians: Up by 5.8% to $61,139. HVAC specialists: A 20% gain, to $62,472. Masons: A 3.5% increase, to $56,784. Insulation mechanics: Up a scant 0.6% to $52,624. The survey didn’t gather information on concrete workers, excavators, or roofers. Reported averages did not include overtime pay or bonuses. Program supervisors and project managers are the highest paid employees, earning an average of $88,355 and $92,523 respectively. NCCER didn’t attempt to compare pay averages between residential, commercial and industrial workers, so the reported trends really amount to a snapshot of general conditions in the industry. In all, 19 of the 32 occupations earned an average of $60,000 or more per year. That may help the industry convince more younger people that a four-year college degree isn’t a prerequisite for a successful career. Labor shortages are a frustrating problem for the industry. A survey conducted by Associated General Contractors of America and Autodesk found that 76% of respondents planned to hire additional or replacement hourly craft workers this year, but 80% are having a hard time filling openings. Only 10% of firms said they were having no troubles in finding people to hire. Carpenters, concrete workers, masons, drywall installers, roofers, plumbers, and electricians all were reported in short supply with more than 60% of all firms reporting that filling those jobs was more difficult this year than last. More than 60% of the respondents said they’d increased pay or benefits for hourly craft workers in the last year in order to attract more candidates.