A U.S. company based in Pompano Beach has won the bid to salvage the Costa Concordia, the cruise ship that ran aground in January off the Tuscany coast, Costa announced.
Titan Salvage, which plans to begin the ship's removal in one month, also plans to tow the ship to an Italian port in one piece, pending approval by Italian authorities. The fuel in the ship was removed by March 24.
Costa said environmental protection will be a "top priority" during the ship's removal. The island of Giglio is in fishing grounds and falls within a sanctuary for dolphins.
Titan Salvage, which says it has performed 350 salvages since the company began in 1980, will partner with Italian marine contractor Micoperi. The ship's removal is expected to take one year.
Costa Concordia struck a reef off the tourist-dependent island of Giglio on Jan. 13, after the captain veered off course and steered the liner carrying 4,200 people close to shore in an apparent stunt. 32 passengers and crew members died in the frantic and delayed evacuation. Two of those remain missing.