Recovery of the crippled Costa Concordia could take up to 10 months, according to the head of Italy's civil protection agency.
Franco Gabrielli said it would take up to two months for salvage companies to respond to a call for tenders from the ship's owner Costa Corciere.
“Taking into account the constraints that weather and sea conditions may impose, it will take seven to 10 months to remove the wreck,” he told the Ansa news agency.
“We already knew that this was a very long, drawn out case but I think it's important that everyone is very aware that it will have a very significant timeframe.”
Experts monitoring the ship's stability on the rocks said it had shifted 3.5 centimetres overnight on Sunday because of high winds and waves.
The 114,500-tonne ship ran aground on rocks off the Italian island of Giglio on January 13, with more than 4,200 people on board.
The number of people known to have died in the disaster rose to 17 over the weekend, with another 15 still unaccounted for. Bad weather has already delayed searches and fuel pumping operations.
A Channel 4 documentary on the disaster is due to be screened tomorrow night. ‘Terror at Sea: the Sinking of the Concordia’ explores how and why the disaster happened.
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