April 12, 2012 / 7:18 PM / 6 years ago

Costa Concordia salvage to begin in May

GIGLIO, Italy (Reuters) - The salvage operation to move the capsized Costa Concordia away from the island of Giglio, where it ran aground three months ago, will begin next month, an official said on Thursday.

Oil tanker Magic Duba (R) and oil recovery sea platform Meloria (C) are seen during the extraction of fuel from the wreck of cruise liner Costa Concordia, which ran aground off the west coast of Italy, at Giglio island February 24, 2012. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito

Civil Protection official Fabrizio Curcio told reporters at a conference on the island that he expected contracts to be signed by the end of April and the operation to begin in mid-May.

Sources close to the operation said two consortia were on the short list to carry out the salvage work. One was composed of Smit Salvage of the Netherlands and Italy’s Neri and the other by Titan Salvage of the United States and Micoperi of Greece.

The ship, owned by Carnival Corp & Plc, capsized off the Tuscan island after hitting rocks on January 13. At least 30 people died and two are still unaccounted for.

The operation to pump more than 2,300 metric tons (2535.3 tons) of fuel out of the vessel was completed last month.

Reporting By Philip Pullella

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