(Update: July 4, 7:00 a.m. EDT -- Costa Cruises has confirmed that following the fitting of the final refloating device (or "sponson") yesterday (July 3, 2014) on Costa Concordia, the refloat will take place on Monday July 14. At the end of the operation -- which is likely to take up to five days -- the ship will then be towed to Genoa for dismantling and recycling.
(June 30, 3:41 p.m. EDT) -- The Italian government has approved the towage of the Costa Concordia wreck to Genoa in mid to late July. Once in port, the ship will be dismantled and its parts recycled.
"The cabinet's approval of the project for transportation of the Concordia to Genoa for dismantling and recycling means that achievement of the goal we set ourselves 2 1/2 years ago -- namely the safe and definitive removal of the wreck from Giglio Island -- is now well within sight. We are now just two weeks away from refloating of the ship," Costa Crociere CEO Michael Thamm said in a statement following the government's decision.
Two more sponsons (or floats) must be installed before the wreck can be refloated. Once refloated, the journey from Giglio to Genoa is expected to take five days.
Costa Concordia hit a reef off the island of Giglio on January 13, 2012, killing 32 people. It was partially raised in a complex "parbuckling" operation last September and currently sits on a manmade platform as sponsons are attached to its sides, ahead of the towing.
--By Dori Saltzman, News Editor