2012 May 16

Plan for the Costa Concordia removal approved

Italian civil authorities have approved on Tuesday the plan to remove the Costa Concordia cruise ship.

U.S. Titan Salvage and Italian Micoperi, the two companies undertaking the salvage project, intend to refloat the entire ship.

The ship, leaning on its side with most of her 9 decks under the water, went down on Jan. 13 with 4,229 passengers and crew onboard after she went too close to the shore of the island of Giglio.  32 people are believed to have died, with all but 2 bodies having been recovered.

A Dutch company, Smit Salvage, has already safely removed the 2,300 tonnes of heavy fuel and 200 tonnes of diesel oil from the ship.

Costa Concordia salvage plan

There was a conference about the plans in Rome at the Civil Defence Department Tuesday, the AGI news agency of Italy reports, chaired by Franco Gabrielli, the Commissioner for Emergencies. Others attending included officials from the environment, health care, cultural heritage and infrastructure and transport ministries.

Parameters around the removal were drawn up and approved and the two salvage companies now have the green light to begin operations. Refloating the Costa Concordia is expected to take up to a year and once completed the ship will be towed to ship breaking yard and scrapped.

The captain of the ship, Francesco Schettino, remains under house arrest at his home near Naples, awaiting trial on multiple charges, including causing a shipwreck, manslaughter and abandoning his ship.

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