Costa Concordia's last waltz: wrecked liner reaches Genoa port

The Costa Concordia reached its final destination for scrapping, two and a half years after the luxury liner capsized off the coast of Tuscany.

Antonio Calanni/AP
The wreck of the Costa Concordia cruise ship is towed by tugboats towards Genoa's harbor, Italy, Sunday.

The shipwrecked Costa Concordia cruise liner has completed its final journey, reaching Genoa's port, where it will be scrapped.

Pulled by tugboats and nudged by winds, the wreck was eased Sunday into the port. The Concordia liner struck a reef when its captain sailed too close to Giglio Island off Tuscany's coast Jan. 13, 2012, and capsized, killing 32 people.

A spectacular operation set the wreck upright in September 2013. On Wednesday, tugboats towing the wreck began the slow, five-day journey to Genoa, headquarters of ship owner Costa Crociere Spa and the port where the luxury vessel first set sail, after construction in 2005.

"Our big ally has been the ship," said Franco Gabrielli, the Italian government official overseeing the operation. "The vessel has shown an impressive robustness."

Coast guard Capt. Gianluca Agostino told Sky TG24 TV the 180-nautical-mile voyage from Giglio to Genoa went so smoothly that one night, crews in a control room attached to the Concordia lit up the lights along the uncrushed side as if it were making one last Mediterranean cruise.

Demolition and scrapping will take an estimated two years.

But first, the wreck will be searched for any remains of an Indian waiter, the only body never found despite repeated missions by divers who swam through the ship when it lay on its side outside the port of Giglio, a fishing and tourism island in pristine waters, which are home to dolphins. One diver perished during search efforts.

Ship captain Francesco Schettino is being tried for alleged manslaughter, causing the shipwreck and abandoning ship with many passengers and crew still aboard. Dozens of people dove into frigid waters and after the Concordia started listing, lifeboats could no longer be launched during the chaotic and delayed evacuation.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is expected to observe the several-hour-long docking procedure this afternoon, the BBC reports.

Genoa is where the Costa Concordia was built and launched amid fanfare and celebration nine years ago, but now she is limping home to be scrapped, says the BBC's Alan Johnston.

"The operation to recover the Concordia was not easy Italy carried it out, the Italy that, when it sets out to, is capable of doing anything, even of surprising us," Mr. Renzi said.

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