Final preparations are under way in Italy for the wreckage of the Costa Concordia cruise ship to be moved to an upright position by a team of engineers.
Thirty-two people were killed and over four hundred were forced to evacuate as it slowly capsized after hitting rocks in January 2012.
The aim is to have the ship removed from the sea off the island of Giglio by 2014. Around 450 technicians have been working on the project for over a year and have a budget of €225 million.
The Senior Salvage Master, Nicholas Sloane explained how the process to move the ship will be: “We will do the pre-tensioning of the systems the day before. At daylight we’ll start the final check and then start the operation. So we’ll have a whole lot of absorbent booms and oil pollution barriers. Also we’ll have fishing nets hanging down to catch any debris.”
The wreckage has become a popular tourist attraction with thousands arriving to visit the sight. Locals, on the other hand, have expressed concern about the ship causing further pollution.
One local resident said he hopes “it can be brought up in one piece because of if it breaks up all kinds of things could come spilling out like oil or other waste even though most of it has been removed.”
The team of experts can only decide what the next phase in the removal of the wreckage will be when it is upright and they can assess the extent of the damage they find. Those wanting to see the 290 metre ship need not worry though because they should have until at least next year to visit the impressive sight.