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Costa Concordia removal to begin in June

Officials say salvage of damaged cruise liner planned for summer

10 January, 12:31
Costa Concordia removal to begin in June (ANSA) - Rome, January 10 - Removal of the Costa Concordia cruise liner that sank off the coast of Tuscany in January 2012 will begin in June, civil protection officials said Friday.

"We confirm that the timing for the removal of the vessel will be the month of June," Franco Gabrielli, civil protection chief, told a press conference.

As well, the final choice of a port where the cruise liner will be hauled for salvage should be made in March, he said.

Right now, 12 ports and salvage companies from six different nations are bidding for the job.

Thirty-two people died and hundreds were injured in the crash off the Tuscan island of Giglio two years ago when the cruise ship, carrying more than 4,000 passengers and crew members, struck rocks and sank after it sailed too close to the island.

The ship's captain, Francesco Schettino, is on trial for multiple charges of manslaughter and dereliction of duty in leaving his post during the chaos after the cruise liner began to sink. The ship was hauled upright from its partially submerged position in September 2013 after a complex salvage operation that took almost 24 hours.

It is still being held upright to keep the cruise ship stable until it is towed away and dismantled.