Costa Crociere and Dockwise have signed a contract making the Dockwise Vanguard, the world

Firm Weighing Options for Removing Costa Concordia

Costa Crociere announced it has signed a contract with Dockwise, a Dutch company, so the Dockwise Vanguard -- the world's largest semi-submersible ship -- will be available if necessary to refloat the cruise ship in 2014.

Costa Crociere and Dockwise, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V., have signed a contract valued at about $30 million that ensures the world's largest semi-submersible ship will be available when the uprighted Costa Concordia is refloated next year so it can be removed from Giglio island. Costa Crociere, the cruise line, is still considering several options for moving it, according to the company's latest news release, but the semi-submersible's owner reported the contract calls for that ship to do the removal.

The semi-submersible ship is the Dockwise Vanguard, which Crociere's release described as "uniquely positioned to lift and transport extremely heavy cargoes in a dry and safe manner. The ship was initially designed to transport offshore oil and gas structures, but can also carry other vessels and act as an offshore dry dock facility. It has an open and flat stern and bow-less deck measuring 275 meters by 70 meters allowing the vessel to transport cargo longer and wider than the deck dimensions. When the ballast tanks are flooded, the Dockwise Vanguard's deck submerges below the surface, allowing her to handle deep draught cargoes. Once the Dockwise Vanguard is semi-submersed, the floating Concordia could therefore be brought in position above the deck and as the ballast tanks are emptied, the entire ship -- including the Concordia -- is brought above the water line allowing her to transport the cargo in a safe and swift manner."

"As we've always stated since the beginning of project, Costa's goal is to remove the Concordia wreck from Giglio in a safe and swift way, and to do this we have always taken into consideration all the possible alternatives and state of the art technologies," said Franco Porcellacchia, Concordia Wreck Removal Project coordinator for Costa/Carnival.

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