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Salvage Operation to Bring the Capsized Costa Concordia to the Surface Begins



Two massive cranes will pull the half-submerged wreck of the Costa Concordia upright and air tanks attached to the hull will refloat the vessel to allow it to be towed to a port and broken up.

The news came after salvage plans were unveiled at a news conference in Rome on Friday (May 18).

The 290-metre long cruise liner capsized off the Tuscan island of Giglio after hitting rocks on January 13. At least 30 people died and two are still unaccounted for.

Titan Salvage of the United States and Italian firm Micoperi, who have been chosen to handle the removal, said they were confident the operation would succeed even though it has never been carried out on a ship this size.

"We feel confident that we can do it and we feel confident that with our partners we will do it safely and with the least disturbance to the environment and the least disturbance to the economy of Giglio," said Richard Habib, president of Titan Salvage, which is owned by U.S. group Crowley Maritime Corp.

The head of Italy's Civil Protection Agency Franco Gabrielli said the ship would be stabilized by the end of August to avoid any risk of it shifting down a rocky ledge.

It is then set to be refloated by February at the latest, and towed away to an Italian port.

The removal operation has been reported to cost at least $300 million.The salvage operation is expected to begin within a few days.

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