HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) – A South Florida salvage company, along with its Italian counterpart, released its plan to remove the capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship from off the coast of Italy.
Titan Salvage Company, based in Pompano Beach and Italy’s Micoperi, will begin removing the capsized ship from the coast of Giglio Island in a few days, the companies announced at a news conference in Rome on Friday.
The work is expected to last about 12 months.
The first of our stages is to refloat the hull in one piece in order to minimize environmental impact and protect Giglio’s economy and tourism industry, and maximizing safety.
The ship is currently resting precariously on an underwater slope.
Once afloat, the wreck will be towed to an Italian port and disposed of in accordance with the requirements of Italian authorities.
The sea bottom will then be cleaned and marine flora replanted.
“From the early stages of the accident, Costa Crociere has fully committed its resources, professional expertise and organization to minimizing the impact of the shipwreck on the environment and on Isola del Giglio in particular,” said Gianni Onorato, Costa Crociere S.p.A. president. “As was the case with the fuel-removal operation, we have always worked to find the best possible and safest solution to protect the island, its marine environment and its tourism industry. We are now launching a salvage operation with characteristics and technical complexities that have never been faced before. There will inevitably be some unknowns in a project of this scope, but we are sure we have made the right decision and will continue to work to our best ability and on schedule.”
The main operations base for the removal project, where equipment will be stored and the 300 personnel based, will be located on the Italian mainland near Piombino so as not to impact on Giglio’s tourism industry.
“We are very pleased to have been chosen to perform this incredible operation to remove the wreck of Costa Concordia,” said Richard Habib, managing director of Titan Salvage. “Our quality engineering and the experience we have gained in this area allowed us to present a project that met expectations. From now on we will work with the aim of preserving the environment and the natural habitat.”
Costa Cruise Lines is a subsidiary of Miami-based Carnival Cruise Lines.
Thirty-two people died, including two Americans, when the luxury cruise liner ran aground and partially sank on January 12. Passengers complained of massive confusion during evacuation efforts, and the captain has been charged with manslaughter and abandoning ship.
Italy’s highest court of appeals has ruled that Francesco Schettino, captain of Costa Concordia, was not fit to command a vessel.