Concordia to be dismantled in Genoa

Rome -

The Italian government announced on Monday that the wreck of the Costa Concordia cruise liner will be dismantled in the north-western port of Genoa, putting an end to a dispute that threatened to delay salvage operations.

An elevated view of the port of Genoa, Italy. File picture: Italo Banchero. Credit: Associated Press

Last week, authorities in Tuscany who wanted the lucrative dismantling contract to go to the local port of Piombino had vetoed decisions in favour of Genoa by a technical panel, which was forced to delegate the issue to the national government.

“#Concordia is going to Genoa,” Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti tweeted after a cabinet meeting in Rome.

“An Italian solution rewards our efforts. Now we will be on the lookout for maximum environmental protection.”

Costa Crociere, a subsidiary of US group Carnival, which owns the Concordia, had already picked Genoa as its preferred location.

Chief executive officer Michael Thamm welcomed the government's go-ahead.

“We are close to the finish line. We are two weeks away from possible refloating,” he said.

A location in Turkey was a cheaper but riskier option for the dismantling, because of the much longer trip to reach the destination.

Refloating and moving the Concordia - a 300m, 114 000-ton vessel - out of Giglio's shoreline is a major engineering effort, during which there is a risk of toxic substances being released.

The procedure is expected to be completed by the end of July.

The Concordia hit a reef and partly capsized on January 13, 2012, after being steered dangerously close to Giglio, in an alleged stunt by captain Francesco Schettino.

Thirty-two of the 4 229 people onboard were killed. - Sapa-dpa