The giant rock that ripped a hole in the Italian cruise ship, the Costa Concordia, and ultimately caused its doom, is going to be used as part of a memorial to the ship and those who died. The 80 ton rock must first be pulled from the ship's hull.
The cruise liner went down on Jan. 13 when the captain, Francesco Schettino, took her too close to the shore of the Italian island of Giglio in the Tuscan Bay. Hitting a reef, a giant rock was imbedded into the ship's hull. It must be removed as part of the operation to refloat the boat and tow it to a port to be salvaged.
"Giglio will never be able to forget the tragedy that struck 32 families who lost their loved ones, and for this reason we want to recover the rock and dedicate it to them," Sergio Ortelli, the mayor of Giglio, told the media Wednesday, June 13. Ortelli said that Costa Cruises, the ship's owner, and Titan Salvage, the American company in charge of refloating it, have been informed of the plan.
Costa Concordia: Oil removed, ship to follow
There were 4,229 passengers and crew onboard when the 290 metre long luxury liner hit rocks and listed, partially sinking. Once it was determined there were no further survivors the Dutch company, Smit Salvage removed the 2,300 tonnes of heavy fuel and 200 tonnes of diesel oil and began work to clean up debris from the ocean floor. The area is part of a marine sanctuary with dolphins, species of whales, porpoises and other marine life and authorities have worked to minimize any environmental impact.
Schettino is under house arrest at his home near Naples, awaiting trial on multiple charges, including causing a shipwreck and abandoning his ship. The refloating of the ship is expected to cost around $300 million and take as long as a year.
There is no date yet set for the creation of the memorial.