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The Parbuckling Project

Posted At: October 1, 2013 3:25 p.m.
by Aime O’Keefe

A hot topic in the news last week was the successful salvage of the Coasta Concordia cruise ship off the coast of Italy, which ran aground on a coral reef last year. Through the effort of 500 scientists and technicians, the 951-foot wreck was righted with limited damage to the marine reef. The task of parbuckling remains a nautical feat with few comparisons, and the communications team made sure to keep information available for media outlets and the concerned population.

The parbuckling project’s communication team had a highly involved plan prepared prior to salvage technicians arriving on the scene. The strategy was simple: keep the news positive. And the team did an excellent job maintaining a positive image of the activities as progress was made. was the control center for all media distribution during the salvage. The website uses a series of graphics on the home page to tell the compelling story of the salvage and the revolutionary process that made it possible: parbuckling. I won’t go into the details, because you really should check out the engineering genius for yourself! The website also offers links to video coverage, media kits, news releases and testimonies of the event while maintaining archives as new stories developed.

The communication team responsible for the salvage coverage incorporated a Twitter account, @InfoParbuckling. The account tweeted updates about the salvage process, including the degree of rotation of the ship throughout the process, and biologist and diver reports of any reef damage. Tweets were posted in Spanish and English.

Compared to some of the more recent cruise industry disasters – Carnival Triumph ring a bell? – ongoing coverage of the salvage and investigation of the Concordia may seem irrelevant. But we should all take a lesson from the crisis management coverage of this event.

The communication strategy was well thought out, constructive to a positive image and consistent throughout the duration of the salvage. Staff ensured multimedia and news releases were avaliable to anyone who desired to know more about parbuckling, communicating the process clearly through simple illustrations.

I can only hope my communication strategies are implemented as seamlessly as this one.

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