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Shipwrecked Concordia to be removed in June

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 10, 2014 at 7:54 am •  Published: January 10, 2014
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The 15 tanks, which will mirror 15 other tanks on the port side, will likely be affixed in April amid calmer seas and better weather, said Franco Porcellacchia, Costa's project manager. The tanks will be filled with water, and then gradually emptied to provide the buoyancy needed to float the ship off the seabed.

That timetable should allow the wreck to be towed away sometime in June, said Franco Gabrielli, Italy's civil protection chief who has been overseeing the salvage operation.

That would come before another summer tourist season gets into full swing on Giglio, a pristine island in a marine sanctuary that has had the shipwreck on its horizon for two years.

Gabrielli said it was possible the damaged cruise ship might have to spend time in a temporary port before heading to its final destination for dismantling, but the hope was to move it all at once.

Not every port can accommodate such a huge wreck. The winning port must not only have the facilities to dismantle and recycle the ship, it must also have an unusually deep harbor: The 300-meter-long (1,000-foot-long) Concordia normally sailed with 8 meters (26 feet) of hull under water. But because of the damage when it ran aground, the Concordia will limp into its final port of call with 18.5 meters (61 feet) of hull submerged.

Costa is a unit of Miami-based Carnival Corp., the world's largest cruise line operator. Costa estimates the salvage effort has pumped an estimated 261 million euros ($355 million) into the Italian economy.

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Follow Nicole Winfield at www.twitter.com/nwinfield