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Costa Concordia to be re-floated

Costa Concordia to be re-floated

The stricken Costa Concordia will be re-floated whole and hauled away the Genoa-based cruise line has confirmed.

The announcement quashes suggestions the vessel could be cut up for scrap at its present location.

Residents on the Isle of Giglio had voiced concerns the scrapping of the vessel could damage tourism in the region during the bust summer months.

Costa confirmed ten leading salvage companies had been invited to submit bids, with a decision expected at the end of March.

The operation to move the vessel is then likely to be completed in the first quarter of 2012.

Dutch company Smit is presently employed to remove half a million gallons of diesel from the vessel, which capsized off the Tuscan coast on January 13th.

Some 17 people are known to have died during the incident. However, a further 15 people remain unaccounted-for and are presumed dead.

The ship carried 4,200 passengers and crew.