Two cranes fixed to a subsea platform will pull the ship upright, helped by watertight caissons which will be filled with water. Once upright, more caissons will be installed to the ships starboard side and then emptied to re-float the ship. Image: Titan/Micoperi

Salvage operations to remove the wreckage of the Costa Concordia from the Island of Giglio have begun, South Florida’s Sun Sentinel reports.

As gCaptain reported in April, the historic contract to remove the 114,500-ton cruise ship was awarded to a team comprised of U.S.-based Titan Salvage and Italy’s Micoperi after the pair submitted a winning proposal based on a set of strict parameters that included removing the ship in one piece, minimal environmental impact and limited disruption of Giglio’s tourism-based economy.

Titan-Micoperi later publicly revealed its salvage plan during a Rome press event in May.  The four stage plan includes securing the ship, construction of a subsea platform, the installation of caissons, a lever-system of sorts to pull the ship upright and re-floating the vessel in one piece.  The salvage operation is expected to take one year.

READ: Costa Concordia Salvage Plan Revealed [PHOTO TOUR]

Costa Cruise’s Head of Corporate Communications, Cristiano De Musso, gave the following salvage timeline in an emailed statement obtained by the Sun Sentinel:

Site inspections of the Concordia through July 31; securing and stabilizing of the ship by Aug. 31; installation of caissons (watertight chambers) on left side of ship and construction of submarine platforms done by Nov. 15; rotation of the wreck to start with installation of boxes on the ship’s right side on Dec. 1; ship to be up-righted by Jan. 15 and delivered to an Italian port by Jan. 31; cleaning and replanting of marine flora to be completed at site by April 30.

The Costa Concordia grounded on the Island of Giglio on January 13, killing 32 people and sparking intense debates over cruise ship safety requirements.

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