Seven months after it capsized off the coast of Italy claiming the lives of 32 passengers, the wreck of the Costa Concordia has become a tourist attraction. Thousands of people queue up each day to catch a ferry that passes within meters of its submerged ship.
The cruise liner ran aground on 13 January 2012 after the ship struck a rock in the Tyrrhenian Sea about 100 km northwest of Rome. This tore a 50 m gash on the port side of her hull, which almost immediately flooded parts of the engine room and caused loss of power to her propulsion and electrical systems. With water flooding in and listing, the ship drifted back to Giglio Island, where she grounded just 500 m north of the village of Giglio Porto, lying on her starboard side in shallow water.
More than six months on and the tiny isle is teeming with tourists. In nearby Santo Stefano, 15km away and attached to the Italian mainliand, tour operators are touting 10 euro tickets that gives buyers the chance to see the stricken cruise ship as the ferries pass within meters of the Concordia. Giglio's mayor, Sergio Ortelli, confirmed: 'There has been a rise in the number of tourists coming for the day, with curious people taking photos of the giant sprawled on the rocks.'
Salvage operations are currently undergoing that plans to seal the breaches in the hull, and then by using giant inflatable buoys the ship could be refloated and then tugged away. The recovery is the largest ever ventured and is predicted to take another 7 to 10 months, depending on weather and sea conditions.
[via Daily Mail]
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