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article imageAt last! Costa Concordia to be rotated, sometime in September

By Marcus Hondro     Aug 19, 2013 in World
Dates for removing the Costa Concordia from its perch 300 metres from the Italian island of Giglio have come and gone but the cruise liner hasn't moved. In fact the next stage, rotating the ship, has yet to happen, though it likely will happen soon.
"If things go as we are expecting. I think September will be the month of the rotation," Franco Gabrielli told news channel SkyTG24 in Italy. He did not give a specific date but said September must be stuck to or bad weather might prevent rotating the ship until Spring.
Flotation tanks on Costa Concordia
The ship is currently listing over and 65 percent of it is underwater. By "rotation" Gabrielli referred to the plan of Titan Salvage and Micoperi, the American and Italian companies doing the work, which is to raise and rotate it. Once rotated, they will weld floatation tanks to the side that is now up against the ocean floor. Floatation tanks have already been welded onto the side of the ship facing up.
When the Costa Concordia sits up in the water the flotation tanks will be emptied and will provide buoyancy to keep the ship upright while it is being towed. The Costa Concordia will be towed to the port of Piombino, where it will be salvaged for parts and material, with the towing likely to take place in the Spring.
Isle of Giglio heading back to "normality"
Backing Gabrielli's words was the mayor of Giglio, Sergio Ortelli, who believes the removal process was in its "final phase" and expects the ship to be rotated next month and towed before next summer. The ship has been there since January 13 of 2012 when she struck a reef after being taken too close to shore. There were 4,229 passengers and crew onboard the 114,137 tonnes ship; 32 died.
Ortelli believes the island, which he says had 15 percent fewer tourists this summer and 30 percent fewer last summer, will return to "calm and normality" once the ship is gone.
Meanwhile in the city of Grosseto the trial of the captain of the Costa Concordia, Francesco Schettino, continues. Schettino, 53, is charged with causing a shipwreck, manslaughter and abandoning his ship and if found guilty could get up to 20 years in prison.
There are some 474 workers on site and over 25 boats; work is ongoing 24/7.
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