The Wrecked Costa Concordia Cruise Ship Is Finally Being Towed Away

The ship’s remains will be broken down for scrap metal

The Costa Concordia, refloated. Photo: Vittoriano Rastelli/Corbis

The MS Costa Concordia, the Italian cruise ship that killed 32 people when it sank off the coast off Isola del Giglio in 2012, has just been sitting off the Tuscan coast ever since. This morning, though, the ship was successfully refloated, the Guardian reports. Environmentalists are relieved since the ship has been marring a marine sanctuary for more than two years, while local residents say they are looking forward to no longer having to see a giant wreck each time they look out to sea. 

Removing the ship entirely, however, will be no easy task. For starters, it's twice as big as the RMS Titanic, the Guardian points out. So far, however, the plan seems to be working: 

Air was pumped slowly into 30 tanks or "sponsons" attached to both sides of the 290-metre, 114,500-tonne Concordia to expel the water inside, raising it two metres (6.5 feet) off the artificial platform it has rested on since it was righted in September.

It will now be towed away from the shore and moored using anchors and cables. Thirty-six steel cables and 56 chains will hold the sponsons in place.

There are going to be substantial risks before the Costa Concordia is gone for goodhowever. As CNN writes, the ship's rotting hull could break off as it is jostled about, which would cause lengthy delays. Or, it could just fall apart entirely. "The worst case scenario is that the ship falls apart during the first six hours as it's raised off the platform -- or that it breaks up somewhere off the coast of Corsica, which is where the Mediterranean's currents are the strongest," CNN continues. Some environmental groups, like Greenpeace, are also concerned that the Costa Concordia will leave a trail of leaky toxic waste in its wake, CNN adds. 

The Costa Concordia's planned final destination is Genoa, Italy, where it will be broken down into scrap metal. Experts estimate that that process could take as long as two-and-a-half years, CNN writes. 

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