At least 10 more months
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At least 10 more months

It will take almost one year for workers to remove from the coast of Giglio the massive Costa Concordia cruise ship that ran aground and capsized on January 13. It was more bad news for residents in Giglio, who fear the wreck will now ruin the island's tourist season. &

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Thu 02 Feb 2012 1:00 AM

It will take
almost one year for workers to remove from the coast of Giglio the massive
Costa Concordia cruise ship that ran aground and capsized on January 13. It was
more bad news for residents in Giglio, who fear the wreck will now ruin the
island’s tourist season.

 

Officials are
still carrying out rescue operations for the 16 people still missing, meanwhile
the list of dead has risen to 17 since TF last went to press on January 16.

De-fuelling
was planned for January 28, but it was soon called off following bad weather
and rough waters.

 

‘Our first
goal was to find people alive,’ said Franco Gabrielli, the national civil
protection official in charge of the operation. ‘Now we have a single, big
goal, and that is that this does not translate into an environmental disaster.’

 

Experts
estimate it will take 28 days to remove the fuel from the ship’s 15 tanks,
which accounts for more than 80 percent of the total amount of fuel on board.
‘The next step is to clear the engine room, which contains nearly 350 cubic
meters of diesel, fuel and other lubricants,’ Gabrielli said in a press
conference. In addition, other materials on the ship, such as food, waste,
detergents and paint, pose serious environmental risks. Rescue videos already
reveal piles of refuse on the seabed under the Costa Concordia: furniture,
mattresses, food and the personal objects of the more than 4,000 passengers
that were on the ship when it crashed into a rocky sandbar. 

 

Only when
de-fuelling is complete will workers be able to remove the ship, either by
repairing the 70-metre gash and floating the ship away whole or cutting it up
and towing the parts to a mainland port.

 

Costa
Crociere SpA, the company that owns the ship, is currently taking bids for the
recovery operation, a process that will take approximately two months. Then,
Gabrielli said, the removal process will take from 7 to 10 months, which means
the capsized ship will remain off the coast of Giglio for the entire 2012
tourist season.

 

Residents of
Giglio, many of whom earn their livelihood from tourism, are worried. ‘We are
very sorry. We would have preferred to save them all. But now other needs and
other problems arise,’ Franca Melils, a local business owner, told the
Associated Press. ‘It’s about us, who work and make a living exclusively from
tourism. We don’t have factories. We don’t have anything else.’

 

Costa
Crociere SpA recently offered uninjured passengers some 11,000 euro each in
compensation. In addition to the lump-sum indemnity, Costa also said it would
reimburse uninjured passengers the full costs of their cruise, their return travel
expenses and any medical expenses they sustained after the rescue. Those
injured and the families of those dead or missing will receive another form of
compensation, still to be announced.

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