Teesside Environmental Reclamation and Recycling facility (TERRC) at Able Seaton Port in Hartlepool, on the River Tees, has confirmed it is in a tender process to secure the multi-million euro contract to scrap the stricken ship.
Costa Cruises will make a decision by the end of February/early March and the ship will likely be towed from the island of Giglio in June, as we reported last month.
The news comes just three days ahead of the second-year anniversary of ship's sinking off the island of Giglio on January 13, 2012, with the loss of 32 lives.
A statement from the port's owners, ABLE UK, said: "ABLE UK Limited can confirm that it is in a tender process regarding the potential recycling of the Costa Concordia at its Teesside Environmental Reclamation and Recycling facility (TERRC) at Able Seaton Port in Hartlepool on the River Tees. TERRC was of course the yard selected by both the French and US Governments to recycle the former French aircraft carrier, Le Clemenceau and vessels from the US MARAD fleet respectively."
The facility has one of the world's largest dry docks and full planning permissions and environmental accreditations to dismantle and recycle the 125,000-ton ship.
Costa's chief executive Michael Thamm, who was present at this morning's conference, said: "We are very confident that we can remove this ship within the month of June. This is not very far away -- and then a great job will be done."
Franco Porcellacchia, who is in charge of removing the wreck, said: "We will start fitting in the systems and equipment that are needed to enable us to remove the ship from mid-April. It is a very complicated operation. If there are no unexpected events the whole operation will be completed by the end of June, probably by the middle of June.
"Then we will have to make the wreck float again, and this will take about seven to 10 days, so our reasonable goal is to refloat the wreck by the end of June."
The full cost of the operation is expected to reach around €600m (£497m), he added.
--by Adam Coulter, UK Editor