A decision on the salvager had been expected for several days, with European news outlets recently reporting Titan-Micoperi as one of two shortlisted teams.
Part of the Crowley Group, Titan Salvage is a marine salvage and wreck removal company considered a world leader in its field. Micoperi is a well-known Italian marine contractor with a long history as a specialist in underwater construction and engineering.
In announcing the decision on Saturday, Costa Crociere said environmental protection will take top priority throughout the removal process. Once the main work is complete, the sea bottom will be cleaned and marine flora replanted.
Costa also outlined measures to safeguard the island of Giglio’s tourism and wider economy, and said salvage workers’ presence will not have any significant impact on the availability of local hotel accommodation during the summer season. The main operating base will be located on the mainland at nearby Civitavecchia, where equipment and materials will be stored.
Once floated, the wreck will be towed to an Italian port and dealt with in accordance with the requirements of the Italian authorities, Costa said.
The removal plan was selected by an evaluation team with specialist representatives from Costa, Carnival Corp. & plc, London Offshore Consultants and the Standard P&I Club. Costa said all six tenders submitted by the March 3 deadline were of a very high standard, but the Titan/Micoperi proposal best fulfilled the main objectives in the tender specifications: removal of the wreck in one piece, minimal risk, minimal environmental impact, protection of Giglio’s economy and tourism industry, and maximum safety.
‘As was the case with the removal of the fuel, we have sought to identify the best solution to safeguard the island and its marine environment and to protect its tourism,’ said Costa chairman and ceo Pier Luigi Foschi, who added thanks to SMIT Salvage and Tito Neri for their successful defueling and caretaking operations.
The fuel removal was completed on 24 March. Caretaking operations, which include cleaning up the seabed and removing debris caused by the incident, will continue until Titan and Micoperi commence operations.
Costa Concordia capsized on Jan. 13. Thirty bodies have been recovered from in and around the wreck. The remains of two people have not been found.
Earlier this month, Carnival chairman and ceo Micky Arison told a shareholders meeting that removing Concordia from its rocky perch at Giglio will be ‘a technological wonder to pull off.’
‘This will be an unprecedented salvage operation. It’s never been done before,’ Arison said, adding that a number of movies will be made.