Italy aims to tow Concordia wreck from holiday island in June

Reuters

ROME, Jan 10 (Reuters) - The wreck of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that capsized off the Italian holiday island of Giglio two years ago will probably be towed away by the end of June, officials said on Friday.

The 114,500 tonne vessel, which was hauled upright in a complex operation in September, hit rocks on Jan. 13, 2012, killing 32 people.

Its captain Francesco Schettino is on trial accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship. His lawyers argue he was not the only person to blame.

"We are very confident we can remove the ship from the island within the month of June," Michael Thamm, the chief executive of Costa Crociere which owns the liner, told reporters at a news conference.

Italian officials confirmed June was the target date for towing away the ship, though some said a slight delay could not be ruled out, depending on weather conditions.

"During the next tourist season on the island the ship will be gone," Environment Minister Andrea Orlando said.

Franco Gabrielli, the man charged by the government with overseeing the salvage operations, said that if problems arose the removal might not be completed until end-July.

There was no word for the moment about where the wreck would be towed but a decision is expected in March, officials said.

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