London: Costa Concordia, the luxury cruise ship that ran aground off the Italian coast in January 2012, will be refloated in what is to be the biggest operation of its kind.
Engineers will be working around the clock seven days a week for a year on the process that is likely to start in May.
Ten of the world`s leading salvage companies were contacted in February by operators Costa Cruises and six working plans were received by the deadline earlier this month, with three of the companies deciding not to bid while two have joined forces.
According to The Daily Mail, the companies involved are mainly US based and include Donjohn Marine, Titan Salvage, Resolve Marine Group and T & T Salvage, Mammoet Salvage and Smit are in the Netherlands, while Svitzer are in Denmark and Tito Neri in Italy.
Genoa-based Costa Cruises have yet not revealed which proposal they have accepted, but described it all as ‘high quality, involve different approaches and techniques’.
“The ship will be removed in entirety but at this stage we are not prepared to say which project has been chosen,” the paper quoted company spokesman Davide Barbano, as saying.
“However all the plans share a focus on ensuring the least possible environmental impact and protect tourism and business,” Barbano added.
Meanwhile, the capsized ship is currently lying at an angle of 80 degrees on rocks known as Seagull Point, where it ran aground on January 13.
Onboard were over 4,000 passengers and crew. The ship struck rocks after the captain Francesco Schettino had allegedly recklessly changed course so as to carry out a ‘sailby salute’ and impress passengers and crew.