Concordia final decision: ship to be righted and towed away in one piece

After two months of speculation about what will be done with the wreck of the Costa Concordia, and with negotations still going on with salvage experts, it is now known that whoever gets the job will have to refloat the ship and tow it to its home port of Genoa in one piece. Salvage teams and engineers are expected to begin work in May, and the entire process is expected to take a year. The cost of the salvage operation is expected to approach £180 million ($288 million US). Less expensive, would be breaking the ship into 300 ton sections but this could do far more harm to the surrounding area, which is designated as a 'maritime reserve'. The area, near the island of Giglio, is filled with dolphins, seals, turtles and over 700 other species of animals and plants. 

Company officials would only say that they ship would be removed in its entirety, but refrained from naming who would get the contract. Ten companies have been vying for the project. The basic operation in a nutshell will involve sealing the nearly 170 foot hull gash, eventually allowing for air to be pumped in to remove the water. The ship would be raised upright through the use of cranes. It would then be towed off. Now that the procedure has been decided, Costa says they will narrow the choices down to three sometime in the next week. US firms are among those in the bid hunt, although Smit Salvage, a firm from the Netherlands may be the front runner. Smit recently finished removing over 2,000 tons of diesel fuel from the ship. Source :