The head of a U.S.-owned marine salvage company chosen to remove the wreck of the Costa Concordia cruise ship from the waters off Tuscany is predicting the vessel will be ready for towing by early next year.
Capt. Richard Habib is the managing director of Titan Salvage. He says the ship now lying on its side on rocky seabed near the port of Giglio island, will be back upright by the start of winter.
He said in Rome on Friday that once afloat, the wreckage will be towed to an Italian port for demolition.
Thirty-two people perished when the Concordia slammed into a reef off Giglio on Jan. 13. The ship's captain is under house arrest while being investigated for alleged manslaughter and abandoning ship during evacuation.