Refloating the stricken COSTA CONCORDIA cruise liner will cost "far beyond" €100m (£83m), according to a dredging and maritime services company bidding for the task.
The chief executive of Royal Boskalis Westminster said today that recovering the ship was "an operation without precedent". Peter Berdowski, chief executive, said: "You're not talking about an operation of a few dozen millions but something that goes far beyond €100 million. "This is an operation without precedent. You have to imagine a big fat whale the size of a block of flats lying on its side, accidentally supported by two rocks." He said Boskalis has put forward a "responsible and careful way" to refloat the cruise liner. The COSTA CONCORDIA has lain off the coast of the Italian island of Giglio since January after running aground on rocks and partially sinking in an accident. Boskalis's SMIT business has already won the contract to remove fuel from the ship. It is understood that the Dutch company, which founded its UK arm, the Westminster Dredging Company in the 1930s, is one of six to have submitted a proposal to remove the ship. Some of the rival bidders have proposed cutting up the COSTA CONCORDIA, which would be a cheaper alternative initially. The final decision will be taken by insurers and Carnival, the owner of the cruise ship. Carnival has warned that it could take a year for 951ft long COSTA CONCORDIA to be moved. Boskalis and its subsidiaries have a long history of salvaging vessels. It raised the Russian nuclear submarine KURSK after it sank in 2000, and lifted the HERALD OF FREE ENTERPRISE, the British car ferry which capsized in 1987, resulting in the deaths of 193 people. Carnival has forecast that the COSTA CONCORDIA disaster will reduce its profits by up to $175m (£112m) and says the ship has been deemed a "total loss". It has predicted earnings per share this year of $1.40 to $1.70, compared with $2.42 last year. Source : telegraph.co.uk