Raising the Costa Concordia to cost $300m
The "unprecedented" operation to refloat and remove the sunken Costa Concordia cruise ship will be the most ambitious effort of its kind ever attempted and will cost at least $300m (€235m), it was disclosed yesterday.
The operation is due to start in the next few days and is expected to take a year, with the ship to be towed to an Italian port and dismantled for scrap.
"This is the largest ship removal by weight in history," said Richard Habib, president of Titan Salvage, the American company that will raise the 1,000ft-long, 114,500-ton cruise liner.
"The magnitude of the job is unprecedented. But we feel confident that we can do it and do it safely, with the least disturbance to the environment and the economy of Giglio."
The Concordia has been wedged on rocks and semi-submerged a few yards off the coast of Giglio, an island off Tuscany, ever since it ran aground on January 13. During the panic-stricken evacuation of its 4,200 passengers and crew, 32 people lost their lives.
The liner's captain, Francesco Schettino, is under house arrest and has been accused of sailing the ship too close to Giglio, smashing it into a rocky reef. He faces charges of manslaughter and of deserting the ship well before the evacuation had been completed. The next court hearing in the case is set for July.
Captain Habib conceded that the operation to raise the Concordia entailed significant risks and said if it went wrong there was no "plan B".
(©Daily Telegraph, London)