After two years and one of the biggest maritime salvage operations in history, the Costa Concordia arrived in waters near the port of Genoa on Sunday.
Towed at a snail pace, the hulk of the once luxury cruise liner made its final voyage to be broken up for scrap.
A complex docking procedure which will see the vessel pushed into a specially designed wharf is expected to take several hours. From there a huge dismantling operation will begin.
Giovanni Crivello from Genoa city council says the ship’s arrival will be a boon for jobs: ‘‘Hundreds and hundreds of workers will be employed in the operation. But also a new sector of the market will open up in Genoa. In the past few years Genoa harbour has not been involved in these kinds of operations, the scrapping and recuperation of vessels,” he said.
The owners of the ship say the total cost of the disaster, plus the salvage operation, could reach 1.5 billion euros.
A total of 32 people died when the Concordia hit a reef off Italy’s island of Giglio in January 2012. The ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, who faces up to 20 years in jail, denies manslaughter.