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Home > Cruise News Archive > Concordia Update: Ship to Be Floated, Towed
Date Published: April 23, 2012
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(4 p.m. EDT) -- Just days after five more victims of the Costa Concordia tragedy were identified, Costa Cruises has decided to refloat the ship and have it towed.

In a statement Saturday, the line said it had awarded a contract for the project to America-based Titan Salvage, which specializes in marine salvage and wreck removal, in partnership with Italy-based firm Micoperi, a marine contractor specializing in underwater construction and engineering.

Costa has noted that further environmental precautions will be taken, and operations for the ship's recovery will be based in nearby Civitavecchia to avoid as much disruption as possible to Giglio's daily operations.

According to the statement, the process is expected to take about 12 months. When the ship is afloat, it will then be towed to an Italian port.

A CNN report quotes the line's Chairman and CEO, Pier Luigi Foschi, as saying that local authorities will decide the ship's fate.

Meanwhile, Carnival Corp. has announced that the 65-year-old Foschi will step down as CEO of the Costa Group on July 1, 2012. In a statement, Carnival said the move is "part of a long-term succession plan that included the scheduled retirement of Foschi once he reached 65." He will remain the Chairman, and will oversee the company's government relations, matters related to the Costa Concordia accident and spearhead a number of strategic projects. Michael Thamm, president of Germany's AIDA Cruises, has been appointed CEO of the Costa Group, which includes Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises and Spain-based Iberocruceros.

On April 17, MSNBC quoted a statement from the Grosseto prefecture, confirming that five of the bodies recovered from the wreck site last month have been identified. Italian officials named Americans Barbara and Gerald Heil from Minnesota, Christina Matheson Ganz and Norbert Josef Ganz, both Germans, and Giuseppe Girolamo, an Italian citizen and member of the crew. At least 30 people died when the ship capsized, and two are still missing.

A recent ruling by Italy's highest court determined that Francesco Schettino, who was captaining the Costa Concordia when it foundered off the Italian island of Giglio on January 13, will remain under house arrest during a criminal investigation into his actions.

The accident occurred after Schettino deviated from the ship's approved route to "salute" the island's residents. Schettino -- who faces a number of allegations, including manslaughter, abandoning ship, causing a shipwreck and failing to report the accident to the coast guard -- has been under house arrest outside Naples since being taken into custody following the incident.

Costa says the next phase in the ship's removal is "caretaking," with the intention to "guarantee environmental monitoring and protection with the assistance of experts using dedicated means and resources, and to clean up the seabed and the area around the hull." Conducted by the Neri/Smit Dutch Salvage team, this process will last one to two months.

The extraction of a half-million gallons of fuel from the ship, which began February 12, was completed on March 24. According to a company statement from Costa Crociere, which owns and operates Concordia, the fuel was removed from 17 tanks, with a small amount of fuel that "pose[s] no significant environmental risk" to be left in the tanks' bulkheads. The Neri/Smit Salvage team led the operation.

Costa has offered passengers who were onboard when the ship struck a rock and capsized 11,000 euros each (about $14,500) in compensation. The amount, according to Costa, is to cover "all patrimonial and non-patrimonial damages, including loss of baggage and personal effects, psychological distress and loss of enjoyment of the cruise vacation." The lump sum extended to non-paying children as well, regardless of age.

The deal did not cover crewmembers, those who lost loved ones or those who were injured. For full compensation and cancellation information for survivors and all other Costa cruisers, click here.

The compensation was announced after negotiations between the line and consumer groups. Passengers were free to reject the deal and take legal recourse if they so desired. To that end, several class-action lawsuits are reportedly in the works against the line, asking for far more per claimant than the deal offered by the line. The largest potential monetary payout demanded to date is $460 million in a suit brought on behalf of four Americans and two Italians who rejected the 11,000 euro offer made by Costa Crociere. The civil suit was announced at in Genoa but filed in Miami by Mitchell Proner, an American personal injury lawyer.

--by Jamey Bergman, U.K. Web Content Producer

Related Content:
Videos of Disaster From Around the Web
How Common Are Cruise Ship 'Salutes'?
Travel Insurance: What You Need to Know
Cruise Critic Member Shares Harrowing Tale
Costa Announces Compensation Plans
In Their Words: Survivors of Disaster Describe the Scene
On the Boards: Cruise Critic Readers Discuss the Tragedy



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