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article imageContract to dismantle Costa Concordia awarded to a port soon

By Marcus Hondro     May 14, 2014 in World
The date to tow away the now-upright Costa Concordia keeps moving back but it will happen sometime, very likely within the next two months. The question is what port will the 114,500 tonnes former cruise ship be towed to in order to be dismantled?
The two ports that seemingly are leading the list of Italian ports are Piombino and Genoa. Piombino is in Tuscany, where the ship listed over and still sits off the island of Giglio, and only 40 miles away, making a massive towing job that much easier. Genoa is much farther north but it is where Costa Cruises, the owner of the ship, has its headquarters housed.
The city of Piombino is rushing now to upgrade its port to bring it into the 21st century and, of course, make it a more viable choice to scrap the 389 meter-long (950 feet) Costa Concordia. Genoa's port, on the other hand, is state-of-the-art and ready to go.
There are many other suitors seeking to land the contract, including others in Italy and one in both Turkey and China. The consideration won't just be cost, but a port's ability to pull off a dismantling job the likes of which has never been done. Given that dismantling a ship is not the same as building one and has its own difficulties, the winning port must show itself capable of pulling it off.
The contract is expected to be awarded in weeks and the ship, which was pulled upright in September by use of a process called parbuckling, will finally leave Giglio's shore once all floatation devices have been attached. It will be towed by the massive Dockwise Vanguard, a semi-submersible out of the Netherlands that was built to transport offshore oil and gas facilities, and large ships.
There were 4,229 passengers and crew onboard when captain Francesco Schettino gave an order to sail close to shore for an unscheduled 'salute.' The ship hit a reef and listed so badly that 65 percent wound up underwater. Thirty-two people, including a five-year-old girl, died in the tragedy. Schettino is currently on trial, charged with manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning his ship and could get 20 years if found guilty.
Residents of Giglio have had the Costa Concordia 300 metres off its shoreline since Jan. 13, 2012 and say they look forward to, after more than 28 months, finally having it removed.
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