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Just weeks away from the planned departure of the Costa Concordia hulk from Giglio and a final decision regarding its destination is yet to be made.
Officials met in Rome on Wednesday to discuss ongoing plans for the refloat and removal of the shipwreck, which as of now has been tentatively set for July 20. After the refloating, plans call for the vessel to be towed to Genoa where it will be scrapped by a consortium led by the Italian company Saipem. A final decision on the project, however, rests in the hands of a Council of Ministers who will decide on the fate of the wreck.
The decision was originally expected for June 16, but was delayed until today at the request of Franco Gabrielli, Commissioner for the Concordia Emergency, who asked for more time to prepare a more in depth analysis of the project, especially in regards to risk assessments and proposed mitigation measures concerning the towing procedure.
The tow to Genoa will take approximately 5 days through open water.
Another option would be to tow the vessel to the nearby port of Piombino, which is by far a shorter distance away than Genoa, although the port currently lacks the proper infrastructure for the demolition.
The Council of Ministers was expected give the green light for the project today but its members were unable meet on which port was the less risky option by a vote of 17 to 2 in favor of Genoa. The soonest a final decision can be made now is on Monday when the council is set to reconvene.
Today’s meeting was attended by the head of Costa Crociere, Michael Thamm, who reaffirmed that Genoa is the best option for demolition and asked the council for their continued trust in this final phase of the salvage.
“Our company wants to honor a precise commitment: to remove the wreck as soon as possible, in total safety and with the highest environmental standards,” said Thamm. “In three weeks we will be ready to tow the Concordia from Giglio Island, during a period of time that statistically presents the most favorable weather and sea conditions. Given this timeframe, the only solution is transporting the wreck into a place which is fully equipped for dismantling with the highest environmental standards.”
As far as the Costa Concordia itself, an update from the project’s website says that crews need to install just 4 more sponsons, which will be used as the flotation for the ship. Over 350 technicians have been working around the clock at the site since April when the winter season ended and preparations for the refloating phase commenced. The ship was successfully parbuckled in September and has been resting on an underwater platform ever since.
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