Lifting the Costa Concordia to send it to the chopping block will be a very risky operation as the cruise line and Italian authorities try to get rid of an eyesore and an environmental hazard.
Italian authorities say the operation to set the Costa Concordia cruise ship upright is set for next week, 20 months after the ship capsized near a tiny Tuscan island, killing 32 people.
National Civil Protection agency chief Franco Gabrielli told islanders on Giglio island Wednesday that crews could try to right the ship as soon as Sept. 16. He stressed that the exact date for the operation will only be known the day before, since the final OK depends upon weather and sea conditions.
The ship will eventually be towed away and scrapped.
The Concordia’s hull was gashed by a reef it struck when sailing close to Giglio’s rocky shores Jan. 13, 2012. It rapidly took on water and capsized. Its captain is being tried for manslaughter and abandoning ship.
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Photo credit: Rescue workers inspect the capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship that ran aground off the west coast of Italy at Giglio island January 16, 2012. Max Rossi / Reuters