July 23, 2014 - 13:33 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The wrecked Italian cruise ship, the Costa Concordia, is being towed on its final journey to the port of Genoa for scrapping, BBC News reports.
The removal is one of the biggest ever maritime salvage operations.
The Concordia struck a reef off the Italian island of Giglio in January 2012 and capsized, killing 32 people. It was re-floated nine days ago and is being kept above the surface by giant buoyancy chambers. Over a dozen vessels will help to tow the ship.
The wreck was hauled upright in September last year but was still partially submerged, resting on six steel platforms.
The cruise ship is being towed to Genoa at two knots, almost at walking pace, with an escort of more than a dozen tug boats. The journey, which is expected to take four days, began shortly before 09:00 local time (07:00 GMT).
Senior salvage master Nick Sloane said early on Wednesday, July 23 that everything was going according to plan.
However, French ecology minister Segolene Royal has said she will monitor the ship's movement from Corsica. Residents on the island fear that any oil leak from the cruise ship could cause significant environmental damage.
The Concordia is set to sail 25km (15 miles) from Corsica and close to the islands of Elba and Capraia before its expected arrival in Genoa late on Saturday.
Investigators are still looking for the body of Indian waiter Russel Rebello, whose body is the only one not to have been found.
The Costa Concordia's owners, Costa Crociere, estimate the operation to remove the wreck from the reef and tow it for scrapping will cost 1.5bn euros ($2bn) in total.