Costa Concordia reaches end of final voyage: Will remains of last victim be found?
ROME (CNN) — The crippled Costa Concordia cruise ship reached the end of its final voyage.
Refloated by salvage crews earlier this month, the rusting hulk docked at Voltri port in the Italian city of Genoa early Sunday.
The cruise ship, which ran aground in January 2012 off Giglio Island with more than 4,200 passengers aboard, was eased into a dry dock at the port for salvage.
It managed to make the four-day journey in a convoy of vessels from Giglio to Genoa without major incident, despite one night of storms.
According to civil protection chief Franco Gabrielli, strong winds hampered the delicate maneuvering needed to get the ship into the dry dock.
One person still missing
The ship will be searched for the remains of Russel Rebello, a 33-year-old waiter who is the only victim still missing in the tragedy. A total of 32 people were killed in the disaster.
Searches for Rebello are also underway in Giglio at the site where the ship had rested for the past 30 months.
“Hopefully this will be the start of closure for the family,” salvage master Nick Sloane told CNN from on board the Concordia. “I hope they find Russel.”
Environmental concerns prompted the decision to undertake the expensive and difficult process of refloating the Costa Concordia rather than taking it apart in the pristine Mediterranean waters where it ran aground.
It’s the largest salvage operation ever attempted — and the most expensive, at a cost of $1.5 billion so far.
Dismantling to take 2 years
The lengthy process of dismantling the wrecked ship is expected to take two years.
The first items to be removed will be passengers’ luggage and personal effects that are still stuck on board.
More than 80% of the Concordia will be recycled or reused, including copper wiring, plumbing pipes, kitchens and some of the plastic room fittings that can be repaired.
The remaining 50,000 tons of steel will be melted down and sold at the market price to be used to make construction girders, cars and even other ships.
And since the wreck in early 2012, 24 metric tons of debris — including furniture, dishes, food, personal effects and ship parts — have been recovered from the seabed.
Barbie Latza Nadeau reported from Rome and Jethro Mullen wrote from Hong Kong.