France warns that Corsica will not tolerate pollution
The Costa Concordia has travelled over 40 nautical miles in the 24 hours since it left Giglio on its way to be scrapped at the north-west Italian port of Genoa. The 290-m long shipwreck is now in the general area of Pianosa, the small uninhabited Tuscan island just south of Elba, and there were no major hitches reported during the night.
A 14-boat convoy is towing the wrecked cruise liner a distance of 190 nautical miles (350 km) to Genoa at an average speed of two knots, about walking speed. So far the complex operation to refloat and remove the shipwreck is going according to plan, two and a half years after it ran aground on rocks after sailing too close to Giglio, killing 32 people.
As it continues its course in the direction of Corsica, France's environment minister Segolene Royal has warned that not "even the slightest pollution" will be tolerated, adding that she will be on board the French navy ship overseeing the Concordia's voyage past the Corsican coastline.
The Concordia's disgraced former captain Francesco Schettino is on trial facing charges of multiple homicide, causing a shipwreck, and abandoning the ship before it was evacuated – all charges he denies. As the ship was preparing to leave Giglio, photographs appeared in the Italian media of a suntanned Schettino enjoying himself at an exclusive party on the Neapolitan island of Ischia, sparking outrage in Italy.
Other people charged in connection with the disaster negotiated plea bargains last year, and the ship's owners Costa Crociere have avoided criminal prosecution by paying a €1-million fine.
The Costa Crociere estimates the total cost for the salvage, the removal operation and the clean-up of the disaster site on Giglio by the Italian marine contractors Micoperi and US-owned Titan Salvage at about €1.5bn.
Giglio locals are beginning to get used to life without the giant cruise liner that put their island in the international spotlight for the last 30 months. There were cheers and tears among the large crowds that waved off the Concordia as it began its final voyage on 23 July.