ROME - Salvage crews began preliminary work this week on preparations to refloat the half-submerged Costa Concordia cruise liner in what is set to be the biggest ever operation of its kind.
A barge has moved next to the liner and the ship’s radar has been removed from the upper deck. The swimming pool slide and the large yellow funnel will be taken off in coming weeks, salvage workers and local officials said.
The 290 metre long cruise liner, operated by Carnival Corp's Costa Cruises unit, capsized off the Tuscan island of Giglio after hitting rocks on January 13. At least 30 people died and two are still unaccounted for.
"The preliminary work has begun before the ship is stabilized, which will happen in the next few months," Mayor of Giglio, Sergio Ortelli, said on Wednesday.
U.S. firm Titan Salvage, owned by Crowley Maritime Corp, and Italian firm Micoperi are handling the refloat and removal of the ship, which is set to cost at least $300 million and last about a year.