The date has changed 3 times, but it appears now the Costa Concordia, lying on its side in the Tuscan Bay 300 metres off of the Italian island of Giglio, won't be gone until the end of the summer. The ship is being refloated and towed for scrapping.
"This is a very delicate and unusual project," the project director, Franco Porcellacchia, told BBC News last week. "We have no reference here." Porcellacchia also said that the Costa Concordia would be not be removed until "the end of the summer."
The companies undertaking the refloating and removal of the Costa Concordia, the American company Titan Salvage and Italian company, Micoperi, had, along with Costa Cruises, the owner/operator of the ship, initially said she would be removed as early as this month.
That changed to the spring but now they've said that the 114,500 ton ship will be there through a second summer. That timeline has residents concerned because they say tourism, a major part of Giglio's economy, is down because tourists see the island now as a salvage operation, not a holiday destination site.
Costa Concordia memorial
The Costa Concordia capsized in Europe's largest marine sanctuary and along with the pristine waters and shorelines, there are dolphins, porpoises, whales and other sea life. Local residents and environmentalists were concerned the accident was an environmental disaster in the waiting but Smit Salvage, a Dutch company, managed to pump out all of the 2,300 tonnes of heavy fuel and 200 tonnes of diesel oil in the weeks following the tragedy.
A memorial was held Sunday on the island to mark the one-year anniversary of the disaster and to honor the 32 people who died on Jan. 13, 2012 when the ship hit a reef, listed over and partially sank; 65 percent of her is under water. The ship's captain, Francesco Schettino, is up on multiple charges, including manslaughter, contravening laws of the sea and abandoning his ship.
The 114,500 ton ship, twice the size of the Titanic, was taken too close to the shore of Giglio Island by Schettino, who is alleged to have been 'saluting' a former colleague. He has been charged with manslaughter, contravening laws of the sea and abandoning his ship. Other employees of Costa Cruises, including Schettino's first officer, have also been charged.