The wreck of the Costa Concordia reached its final destination in Genoa Sunday, ending a massive operation that took more than two-and-a-half years to complete. The ship was pulled into the Italian port by tugboats after five days of travel from the wreck site off Giglio Island.
The Concordia struck a reef in January 2012 when its captain sailed too close to the Tuscany island, killing 32 people. ABC News notes that, since then, hundreds of salvage workers and engineers have worked on the largest recovery operation of its kind.
The operation to salvage the Costa Concordia began immediately after the accident and included a parbuckling operation to set the ship upright in September 2013. The ship spent the winter months in that position, then was refloated last weekend and attached to tugboats, which pulled the luxury ship away from Giglio Wednesday.
Franco Gabrielli, the Italian government official overseeing the salvage operation, stated, “Our big ally has been the ship. The vessel has shown an impressive robustness.”
While environmentalists worried that the Concordia could cause pollution on its journey to its final destination, monitoring by spotter planes and samples of seawater found no pollution. Fuel was siphoned from the luxury liner early in the salvage operation, but other chemicals, spoiled food, and human waste were still trapped inside.
Yahoo! News notes that Captain Gianluca D’Agostino, Giglio’s coast guard commander, explained that the journey was so smooth that he gave a bottle of Giglio wine to French authorities monitoring at sea. The French, pleased no pollution was leaking from the Concordia, returned with a case of Champagne.
Crews in the control room attached to the Concordia also lit up the lights along the ship’s uncrushed side one night, as they would be if the ship was cruising the Mediterranean again.
Now that the wreck is at its final destination, it will be searched for any remains of an Indian waiter, the only victim never found by searchers. Divers swam through the ship several times when it lay on its side out of Giglio to search for him and one diver perished during the search effort.
While the Costa Concordia’s journey is at an end, the fate of its captain, Francesto Schettino, has yet to be decided by Italian courts. Schettino is on trial for alleged manslaughter, causing the shipwreck, and abandoning ship with passengers and crew still on board. Schettino has denied the charges.
The Costa Concordia wreck will take about two years to demolish and scrap.
[Image by ARPA Toscana]