At about 11 a.m. yesterday (Central European time zone) the Costa Concordia began its final voyage, a trip to Genoa, Italy, for scrapping, towed at an average speed of 2 knots.
The arrival in Genoa is expected on Saturday or Sunday.
The towing of the infamous shipwreck from Giglio Island began 30 months after it struck a reef and capsized, killing 32 people.
The captain of the 952-foot cruise ship, Francesco Schettino, who is on trial on charges of manslaughter and abandoning the ship, was the “guest of honor” Monday at the exclusive “White Party,” an annual event hosted on the Bay of Naples island by Italian businessman Piero Graus at which all guests wear white, according to a report by the Italian English-language newspaper The Local.
Wearing a white shirt, Schettino was pictured Tuesday on the front page of the local daily, Il Golfo, flanked by women. He reportedly fled to the island to “escape the media” as the Costa Concordia was being prepared for towing from Giglio, the newspaper reported.
The initial portion of the ship’s route will offer the most protection from rough seas and high winds because it will pass through the Tuscan archipelago of islands, which include Elba and Montecristo.
After that, however, as it is towed past the northern tip of Corsica it will be in the open sea and will be vulnerable if a storm occurs, according to a report by Britain’s The Telegraph newspaper.
As the Costa Concordia passes along the coast of Corsica at a distance of about 15 miles it will be escorted by a French navy ship. The French government has expressed concern about the risk of pollution.