The stricken Costa Concordia cruise liner is set to be moved from its current resting place near the Italian holiday island of Giglio in June.
It will be the final phase of the mammoth salvage operation of the 114,000 ton ship which was hauled upright from its partially submerged grave last September. After it is moved it will be demolished.
Salvage companies from six different nations, including five Italian firms, are bidding for the contract to break it up. The operation will be the first of its kind in the world and the initial move could be prove to be tricky and take months.
Italian civil protection chief Franco Gabrielli explained: “If the distance to the final harbour where the ship will end its journey is so far that it endangers the operation to move Costa Concordia by the Dutch heavy lifting ship Vanguard then it will stay in a temporary harbour until sometime between this coming September and October.
“That’s the optimum time for Vanguard and sometime in that period it will be transported from its temporary home to its final destination where the Costa Concordia will be broken up.”
Thirty-two people died in the accident when the liner with more than 4,000 passengers on board smashed into rocks near the Giglio.
The wreck is to be subject to further inspections later this month after an Italian judge agreed to let experts go aboard to collect further evidence.