The cost of refloating the crippled Costa Concordia could top €100 million, according to reports today.
The figure came from one of the salvage companies bidding to recover the Costa Cruises ship.
Peter Berdowski, chief executive of Royal Boskalis Westminster, said: "You're not talking about an operation of a few dozen millions but something that goes far beyond €100 million.
"This is an operation without precedent. You have to imagine a big fat whale the size of a block of flats lying on its side, accidentally supported by two rocks."
Berdowski told the Daily Telegraph that his company had put forward a "responsible and careful way" to refloat the vessel.
Six companies have been asked to tender for the salvage work. A final decision will be taken by insurers and Carnival Corporation, the owner of the ship.
Carnival has forecast that the Costa Concordia disaster will hit profits by up to $175 million with the ship deemed a "total loss".
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