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article imageCosta Concordia news: Ship's bell is missing, platform in place

By Marcus Hondro     Apr 6, 2013 in World
A crucial underwater platform that will help to raise the Costa Concordia was put into place last week at the wreckage site off the coast of the Italian island of Giglio. Also, late in March the ship's bell went missing.
The platform, referred to as Platform Number One is the fourth to be put in place and largest of six to be used; it weighs 1,000 tons and is 40 m. by 33 m. and will support the ship when it is pushed up by giant, expanding balloons underneath the submerged side of the ship. Once raised it will be towed to the port of Piombino for scrapping.
When the ship hit a reef on Jan. 13, 2012, it listed over, with 65 percent now underwater. The American company, Titan Salvage, is working with the Italian company, Micoperi, to raise the ship and ready it for towing to Piombino.
Costa Concordia hit reef, listed over
Meanwhile, the ship's bell was seemingly stolen in March and a thief or thieves somehow evaded laser security and found their way to the bell. Authorities in Italy have said they believe it may have been an inside job, suspecting a diver or divers working on the wreck removed it to keep as a memento.
Thirty-two people died in the tragedy, with two bodies yet to be recovered. The captain of the Costa Concordia, Francesco Schettino, is accused of taking the 114,500 ton ship, twice the size of the RMS Titanic, too close to Giglio to 'salute' a former colleague who lives there; the ship hit a reef and suffered a huge gash on its side.
Captain Francesco Schettino: 'Chicken of the Sea'
Schettino has been indicted on charges of manslaughter, contravening laws of the sea and abandoning his ship. Other employees of Costa Cruises, the owner/operator of the Costa Concordia, including Schettino's first officer, have also been charged.
Schettino, despite evidence to the contrary, claims that he did no wrong and he's taken Costa Cruises to court to try and win back his job. In Italy Schettino has become known as 'the Chicken of the Sea', largely because he abandoned the Costa Concordia before all 4,200 plus passengers and crew had been evacuated. He later claimed he "fell" into a lifeboat.
Work continues around the clock at the site and the Costa Concordia is expected to be ready to be refloated sometime in September.
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