Wrecked Costa Concordia enters Italian port to be scrapped

Fears the damaged hull would break up under the strain, spilling toxic waste into Europe’s biggest marine sanctuary, proved unfounded, as environmental experts welcomed the ship into Genoa.
Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia arrived at Genoa's Voltri Port, Italy on 27 July 2014. The dismantling operations of the cruise liner are expected to last two years.  Luca Zennaro/EPA
Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia arrived at Genoa's Voltri Port, Italy on 27 July 2014. The dismantling operations of the cruise liner are expected to last two years. Luca Zennaro/EPA

GENOA, ITALY // The wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship limped into the Italian port of Genoa on Sunday to be scrapped two and a half years after it capsized in a tragedy that claimed 32 lives.

The hulking vessel about twice the size of the Titanic was towed into the northern port after a four-day, 280 kilometre journey from the disaster site off the Tuscan island of Giglio.

“We can finally breathe a sigh of relief,” Italy’s environment minister Gian Luca Galletti said.

Fears the damaged hull would break up under the strain, spilling toxic waste into Europe’s biggest marine sanctuary, proved unfounded, and dolphins joined the convoy of environmental experts in welcoming the ship into Genoa.

The once-luxury liner arrived overnight and weighed anchor around two nautical miles [3.6 kilometres] off shore, where engineers attached it to a series of tugboats which manoeuvred it into Genoa’s Voltri port.

Crowds gathered near the port on the outskirts of Genoa at first light, eager to see the remains of the battered ship, which crashed into rocks off Giglio island in January 2012 with 4,229 people from 70 countries on board.

The salvage operation to recover the Concordia was the biggest ever attempted and is expected to cost in the region of €1.5 billion (US$2.01bn).

One of the first tasks will be to search for the body of one of the victims, Indian waiter Russel Rebello, whose remains were never found and may have been trapped in a part of the vessel previously inaccessible to salvage crew.

* Agence France-Presse

Published: July 27, 2014 04:00 AM

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