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Costa Concordia to be scrapped two years after disaster

The wreck of the Italian cruise ship the Costa Concordia is to be scrapped two years after it sank killing 32 people.

The wreck of the Costa Concordia is seen outside Giglio harbour.
The wreck of the Costa Concordia is seen outside Giglio harbour. Credit: ITV News

In one of the most expensive maritime salvage operations ever, the ship was towed to the Italian port of Genoa, close to where it struck a reef off the Italian island of Giglio in January 2012.

The ship's captain Francesco Schettino has denied charges of multiple manslaughter and abandoning ship, which could see him jailed for up to 20 years.

ITV News Correspondent Ronke Phillips has this report:

Read more: Video: Inside the wreckage of the Costa Concordia

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Costa Concordia to be towed away after nearly 3 years

The wreck of the ill-fated Costa Concordia cruise liner is set to be towed away after two and a half years underwater, off the Tuscan holiday island of Giglio.

The 290-metre ship was righted and secured in a complex operation last September.

With the arrival of the summer weather it is now due to be towed to Genoa to be broken up for scrap.

The cruise liner Costa Concordia is seen outside Giglio harbour.

Costa Concordia to be refloated this week

Work to the refloat the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship will likely begin on Monday after Italian authorities gave the green light for the next step in the largest maritime salvage in history to begin.

The Costa Concordia will likely be refloated this week. Credit: REUTERS/Max Rossi

Raising the 290-metre hulk from underwater platforms next to the Italian island of Giglio where it sank killing 32 people, should take six or seven days, the group organising the removal said.Then it is due to be towed to the northern port of Genoa where it will be scrapped.

The government's Civil Protection Department said that documentation submitted for the refloat of the defunct luxury liner was "valid", allowing it "to give the go-ahead for the operation.

The ship's captain, Francesco Schettino, is on trial accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship. He is fighting the charges.

Costa Concordia captain returns to cruise ship

The Italian captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that crashed in 2012 and killed 32 people has returned to the ship for the first time.

Francesco Schettino is accused of leaving the liner before all its passengers were taken off the ship, and has returned to the wreck as part of his manslaughter trial.

Francesco Schettino
Schettino was being allowed on to the ship "as a defendant, not a consultant", said Judge Giovanni Puliatti. Credit: EBU

Schettino has already accepted some responsibility, but denies abandoning the ship after it hit a reef near the island of Giglio.

Schettino maintains he managed to steer the stricken vessel to shallower water closer to shore, avoiding potentially hundreds of deaths.

Small boat
A small boat took Schettino out to wreck of the the luxury liner. Credit: EBU

"They want to show that I am weak, just like two years ago. It's not true. I want to show I'm a gentleman, not a coward," Italian media quoted him as saying.

An Italian court convicted five others of manslaughter in July 2013.

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Diver dies after getting trapped on Costa Concordia

A diver working on the wreck of the Costa Concordia died after getting trapped by an underwater metal sheet.

The wreckage of the Costa Concordia Credit: Reuters

The man, a Spanish national, was preparing the wreck for removal when he cut his leg on the metal sheet and was unable to get free, La Nazione reported.

The diver, who worked for the Spanish company UCS (Underwater Contractors Spain), was rescued by a colleague, who brought him to the surface of the water, but the man later died.

Watch: Incredible timelapse shows Costa salvage operation

He was involved in an underwater operation when the incident occurred, an official at salvage firm Titan Micoperi confirmed.

The death marks the first fatality in the salvage operation of the Concordia since it capsized off the Italian island of Giglio two years ago, killing 32 passengers and crew.

British and Irish divers arrested on Costa Concordia

One Briton and one Irishman have been arrested on suspicion of illegally boarding the Costa Concordia to search for souvenirs, Italian police sources said according to The Sunday Telegraph.

The Costa Concordia capsized off the coast of Italy 22 months ago.
The Costa Concordia capsized off the coast of Italy 22 months ago, killing 32 people. Credit: Baris Seckin / AA / SCANPIX

The men, who have not been named by police, were among four salvage workers who are alleged to have boarded the stricken vessel late on Thursday night.

The two other men arrested are South African nationals. All four men are employees of salvage firm Salvage Consortium Titan-Micoperi, which is working to shift the Costa Concordia from the rocks off the Italian island of Giglio.

They are believed to have been caught by CCTV monitoring an off-limits area of the ship.

The cruise ship was subject to a parbuckling operation in September, with the vessel successfully raised from its side.

Woman claims she was Costa Concordia captain's lover

A woman who was on the bridge of the Costa Concordia cruise liner with its captain when it capsized last year has told an Italian court she had been his lover.

The Costa Concordia
The Costa Concordia was recovered into an upright position last month, over a year and a half since it sank. Credit: PA

Domnica Cemortan had previously denied any affair with Captain Francesco Schettino, who faces multiple charges including manslaughter.

Cemortan has described Schettino as a "hero" and has said he deserved gratitude for bringing the ship nearer to shore rather than letting it sink out at sea.

Some 32 people died when the boat hit a reef and partially sank in January 2012, off the Tuscan island of Giglio. It had been carrying more than 4,000 passengers and crew.

Read: 'Remains found' near Concordia

Recovery of Concordia bodies 'almost a miracle'

The Costa Concordia cruise liner sank last year off the Italian island of Giglio. Credit: EBU

The recovery of human remains believed to be the last two missing bodies from the Costa Concordia cruise disaster is "almost a miracle", Italian authorities said.

The submerged remains were found after 20 months under the weight of the 114,500 tonne vessel, which capsized after striking rocks in January 2012, killing 32 people.

The head of the civil protection agency Franco Gabrielli told reporters the remains discovered today were "absolutely consistent" with the two missing people, an Indian man and an Italian woman.

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