Costa Concordia completes final journey before dismantling
Cruise ship hit a reef and capsized two and half years ago, killing 32 people
One of the biggest ever maritime salvage operations ended successfully on Sunday with the shipwrecked Costa Concordia cruise liner entering a northern Italian port just outside Genoa, after a four-day journey through the Mediterranean sea.
The luxury liner was slowly towed away from the tiny Italian island of Giglio where it capsized more than two years ago, killing 32 people.
"I think that this is the right port, because it well represents the quality of Italian naval tradition," said Silvio Bartolotti, CEO of Titan-Micoperi, the Italian company which has been in charge of the salvage operation.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was expected to arrive in Genoa on Sunday to monitor the last phase of mooring, which was scheduled to take several hours.
The wreckage will be secured with 15 ropes to the dock and will stay in position for months in order to unload furniture and other heavy materials that are still on board.
The arrival in the port of Voltri, just outside the main harbour in Genoa, caps one of the largest and most complex maritime salvages ever attempted, expected to cost the vessel's owner more than €1.5 billion ($2.14 billion US) for the entire operation.
Genoa is one of the biggest ports in Italy and is home to the ship's owner, Costa Crociere.
Demolition and scrapping of the wreck will take an estimated two years. But first, it will be searched for any remains of an
Indian waiter, the only body never found despite repeated missions by divers who swam through the ship when it lay on its side outside the port of Giglio. One diver perished during search efforts.
The Costa Concordia's Italian captain is on trial for multiple manslaughter, causing the wreck on Jan. 13, 2012, and abandoning ship before all aboard were evacuated. The sole defendant in the trial in Tuscany, Francesco Schettino, has claimed the reef the vessel struck wasn't on the liner's nautical charts.
With files from Reuters