Costa Concordia will not be moved until May 2014

Jun 26, 2013, 00:39 IST | Agencies

The wreck of the Costa Concordia will not be towed away from the island of Giglio until next spring at the earliest � morethan two years after it capsized, claiming the lives of 32 people.

The timetable for removing the 950ft-long cruise liner has continually slipped, to the dismay of the island’s inhabitants, who want it towed off as soon as possible. It was originally intended to refloat the ship and tow it away with tug boats early this spring.

The salvage operation has been delayed by bad weather however, and the difficulty of drilling into the granite seabed to secure anchor blocks and pylons. Salvage engineers say they have the capability of hauling the ship upright in August.

But islanders have demanded that the operation be delayed until early September so as not to impact on the busiest holiday period on the island, which is renowned for its small sandy coves and crystal clear water.

When the ship is rolled upright, debris and dirty water is expected to pour out of the interior -- not something the island wants holidaymakers to witness during the peak tourist season.

“The forecast is to see it rolled upright at the end of this summer and to remove it in the Spring of 2014,” the regional government of Tuscany, which administers Giglio, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Concordia slammed into rocks off the coast of Giglio on the night of January 13, 2012, tearing a 230-foot gash in its hull and leading to a panic-stricken evacuation by its 4,200 passengers and crew.

The captain of the vessel, Francesco Schettino, will face charges of manslaughter and abandoning ship when his trial starts in Grosseto, in Tuscany, on July 9.  

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