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Waiter still missing as Costa Concordia makes last voyage

July 30, 2014 Cruise, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Wrecked Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia, which capsized after striking a reef off the Italian island of Giglio in January 2012, killing 32 people, had made its final voyage – to the scrapyard. Everyone aboard has been accounted for, dead or alive, except for Indian waiter Russel Rebello whose body was never found.

The ship was re-floated using giant buoyancy chambers after a two-year salvage operation and hauled to the Italian port of Genoa for scrapping.

Meanwhile, Captain Francesco Schettino, who made headlines when he allegedly sailed away in a lifeboat while passengers were still on the ship, has charges of multiple manslaughter and abandoning ship.

If found guilty, he could be imprisoned for up to 20 years. The captain has been reported as saying he tripped and fell into the lifeboat.

The salvage of the ship and its removal over 300km to Genoa was one of the biggest and most complex maritime salvage operations of all time.

Port pilots manoeuvred the colossal 114,500-tonne hulk, all that’s left of a sleek floating hotel at sea, into Genoa where scrapyard workers stand ready. It took more than a dozen tugs and other vessels to move the giant ship.

Italy’s prime minister Matteo Renzi said the operation would help to restore some national pride after the disaster, which was seen as a humiliation for Italy’s proud record in cruise shipping, as well as a human tragedy.

Investigators are still searching for the body of Indian waiter Russel Rebello. He is the only one of the 32 dead whose body was never found.

Costa Concordia’s owners, Costa Crociere, have been reported as estimating the wreck removal will end up costing about EUR 1.5 billion (AUD2.14 billion).

Written by : Peter Needham

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