The cruise liner Costa Concordia is seen outside Giglio
harbour in this February 26 file photo. The wreck is set to
be refloated within 10 days. Photo by Reuters
Italian authorities have given the green light to
refloating the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship, setting the
stage for the next step in the largest maritime salvage in
history to begin on Monday morning.
The operation to raise the 290-metre hulk from underwater
platforms next to the Italian island of Giglio where it sank,
killing 32 people, should take six or seven days, the group
organising the removal said.
The refloating will go ahead if the summer weather remains
calm, and then the Concordia, which is around two and a half
times the size of the Titanic, is due to be towed to the
northern port of Genoa to be scrapped.
The government's Civil Protection Department said that
documentation submitted for the refloat was "valid", allowing
it "to give the go-ahead for the operation to refloat the
The defunct luxury liner is due to depart Giglio on July 21,
two and a half years after it struck a reef while performing
a display manoeuvre to move close to shore and "salute" the
Residents of the tiny island, which depends on tourism, hope
this stage in the salvage will repeat the success of a
complex "parbuckling" operation which stabilised the wreck
"I am happy they are taking it away because to see a ship
like that always there, with the deaths that happened, it
gives us the shivers," said ferry worker Italo Arienti.
The ship's captain, Francesco Schettino, is on trial accused
of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship. He
is fighting the charges.
Paying for the disaster, including breaking up the vessel and
repairing damage to Giglio, is likely to cost the ship's
owner and operator Costa Crociere, a unit of Carnival Corp ,
more than €1.5 billion, its chief executive said last week.