Italian cruise ship owner expects removal plans by March

February 2, 2012 23:38

ROME - The owners of the capsized Italian liner Costa Concordia said on Thursday they expected to announce plans by the end of March to remove the wreck.

Costa Cruises, a unit of Carnival Corp CCL.L>, the world's largest cruise ship group, said in a statement it had invited 10 leading salvage companies to tender for the contract to remove the ship.

It said it expected to select the company by the end of March, although delays were possible in an operation of such complexity.

The 290 metre-long Costa Concordia capsized and foundered close to the Tuscan island of Giglio on Jan. 13 after its struck a rock which tore a large gash in its hull. At least 17 people died in the accident and 15 others are still missing.

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