Costa Crociere has announced that it has chosen U.S-based Titan Salvage and the Italian firm Micoperi to remove the stricken Costa Concordia from Giglio Island, beating out several leading salvage companies vying for the illustrious contract.
Titan Salvage is an American-owned specialist marine salvage and wreck removal company, part of the Crowley Group, and is a world leader in its field. Micoperi is a well-known Italian marine contractor with a long history as a specialist in underwater construction and engineering.
Following the January 13 accident Costa Crociere quickly hired international salvage experts, SMIT Salvage BV, for the removal of the vessels fuel oil and other pollutants, but left the contract for the removal of the ship open for bids.
In February, Costa Crociere invited a handful of leading salvage companies to bid on the contract with the condition that the companies are “capable of performing the work in the shortest period of time while also ensuring maximum safety and minimum environmental impact”. A total of six tenders were submitted by the March 3 deadline, with a team made up of SMIT and Neri rumored to be the frontrunner. But in the end, a panel made up of representatives from Costa Crociere, Carnival Corporation & plc, London Offshore Consultants, and the Standard P&I Club chose Titan Salvage and Micoperi as the best option, saying the teams proposal “best fulfilled the main objectives set out in the tender specifications”.
“We are very pleased to announce another important step toward salvaging the wreck from Giglio Island,” said Costa Crociere S.p.A. Chairman & CEO Pier Luigi Foschi. “As was the case with the removal of the fuel, we have sought to identify the best solution to safeguard the island and its marine environment and to protect its tourism. We would like also to thank Smit Salvage and Tito Neri for succeeding in defueling and caretaking operations.”
Throughout the salvage operation, Costa stresses that protecting the environment and Giglio’s tourism and wider economy will take top priority. To help do this, Costa says the main operating base will be located on the mainland at nearby Civitavecchia, where equipment and materials will be stored as to not interfere with Giglio’s port activities and prevent salvage workers from clogging up the island’s hotels. Once floated, the sea bottom will be cleaned and marine flora replanted and the wreck will be towed to an Italian port and dealt with in accordance with the requirements of the Italian authorities.
Costa Crociere says the work will begin in early May and subject to final approval from the Italian authorities. The operation is expected to take about 12 months.