Italian authorities voting on the final destination of the Costa Concordia shipwreck have opted to stick to original plans for the hulk, calling for its removal from the island of Giglio as soon as possible to the port of Genoa.
The Council of Ministers on Monday gave its final approval for the removal of the vessel to Genoa where the ship will be dismantled, citing the need to remove the shipwreck within the planned timeline and without further delays.
The refloating of the Costa Concordia is expected to begin in mid-July, with its removal from Giglio island by July 20. After the shipwreck is refloated and stabilized, the Costa Concordia will then be towed Genoa. The tow is expected to take five days.
The green light from the Italian government comes amid calls for the shipwrecks removal from the island as soon as possible. A final decision last week was delayed when the Council of Ministers was unable to meet on the final destination for the ship. Some argued that the port of Piombino would provide far less risk during the towing phase given its proximity to Giglio. The port of Piombino however lacks the current infrastructure for the dismantling project, which would mean further delays for the removal of the vessel from the island.
“The [Council of Ministers] approval of the project for transportation of the Concordia to Genoa for dismantling and recycling means that achievement of the goal we set ourselves 2½ years ago — namely, the safe and definitive removal of the wreck from Giglio Island — is now well within sight,” said Costa Crociere CEO Michael Thamm. “We are now just two weeks away from refloating the ship. We will supervise the final phase of the Concordia project with the same commitment and attention that we have put into this challenge since the very beginning, using the best expertise and technologies, in compliance with the highest environmental safety standards, and in full cooperation with the authorities.”
With the green light for towing the wreck to Genoa, work is continuing on the final preparations for refloating. Only two more sponsons need to be installed in order to reach the total of 30 needed to refloat the wreck. Refloating is scheduled to start by mid-July upon authorization of the Monitoring Observatory, and towing of the wreck from Giglio is planned by the end of the month, Costa Crociere said in a statement.
A consortium led by the Italian company Saipem will be in charge of dismantling the ship at San Giorgio del Porto.
“The Concordia’s last voyage will be provided by Titan Micoperi, the consortium commissioned to carry out the salvage operation on Giglio Island,” Thamm explained. “Once the ship is in Genoa, we will be able to count on the cutting-edge technical and management skills of the Saipem consortium to deal with the environmental aspects of the Concordia dismantling operations. The work will be done at San Giorgio del Porto, the first shipyard in Italy to be included in the Special Register of Environmental Ship Reclamation & Recycling Facilities, which has many decades of experience in ship repairs and refitting. The technical and financial solidity of Saipem/SGdP represents an important guarantee for the project.”
The dismantling of the wreck is expected to take 22 months and will be carried out in four phases.
The announcement comes more than two years after the Costa Concordia shipwrecked on the small island, killing 32 people.
More about the decision from the Council of Ministers can be found at local Giglio News.