The Dutch company that removed all the oil from the tanks of the partially submerged Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy's Giglio Island, Smit Salvage, is now removing debris from the ocean floor around the cruise liner.
Italian news site, AGI.it reported work continued throughout Easter Sunday. "Underwater inspections and procedures in the caretaking phase of the Concordia aftermath proceeded as...Smit Salvage and Neri carried on with their efforts to clear debris and objects that fell out of the sunken vessel." Smit Salvage has given no time table on how long it will take to clean up the debris; the company managed to remove all the oil from the 17 tanks of the ship in under one month.
Salvage company bids to raise Costa Concordia
Costa Cruises, the company that owns and operated the Costa Concordia, has taken tenders on the removal of the ship but has not announced to which company that job will go. Smit Salvage is part of the maritime company Royal Boskalis Westminster which has submitted a bid to remove the ship whole. The Costa Concordia is 290 metres long and 36 metres wide and has a gross tonnage of 114,500 tonnes.
Royal Boskalis Westminster has experience refloating sunken ships, having raised the Russian nuclear sub 'Kursk' in 2000 and the British ferry, 'Herald of Free Enterprise' in 1988 (it was later scraped). Whether the ship is refloated and removed whole,or broken up and removed piecemeal, that job is expected to take 10-12 months.
To date, 30 bodies have been recovered and two more are believed to have died when the boat went down on Jan. 13 and have yet to be found. The ship's captain, Francesco Schettino, is currently under house arrest at his home near Naples and awaiting his trial on charges of manslaughter, abandoning his ship and causing a shipwreck.