The Costa Concordia disaster was 14 months ago and finally there is a complete plan to remove the ship. While it's been known for months they were refloating and towing it for dismantling, only now have Italian officials decided the port it will go to.
The government in Italy announced last week that the ship, which lies 300 metres off the island of Giglio in the Tuscan Bay, once refloated will be towed to the nearest port, the port of Piombino in Tuscany. Some opponents are arguing that could lengthen the removal operation as there is upgrading work to be done in that port; however, the month previously given as the one in which the ship will be ready for towing, September, has not been changed.
When the ship hit a reef on Jan. 13, 2012, it listed over, with 65 percent of it now underwater. The American company, Titan Salvage, is working with the Italian company, Micoperi, to build a series of inflatable devices underneath the sunken side of the boat and refloating the Costa Concordia back upright so it can be towed.
Costa Concordia; Schettino faces multiple charged
There were over 4,000 passengers and crew on the ship that night, 32 of whom died, with all but two bodies recovered. The 114,500 ton ship, twice the size of the Titanic, was taken too close to the shore of Giglio Island by her captain, Francesco Schettino, who is alleged to have been 'saluting' a former colleague. Schettino has been charged with manslaughter, contravening laws of the sea and abandoning his ship. Other employees of Costa Cruises, owner/operator of the Costa Concordia, including Schettino's first officer, have also been charged.
Schettino, despite evidence to the contrary, claims he did no wrong and has taken Costa Cruises to court to try and win back his job. In Italy he has become known as 'the Chicken of the Sea', largely because he left the ship before all passengers and crew has been evacuated, later claiming he "fell" into a lifeboat.