Survivors and relatives of the victims of the Costa Concordia tragedy on Sunday on the Italian island of Giglio observed the first anniversary of the cruise ship sinking in an emotional ceremony made more poignant because the vessel is still lying on its side in the same spot close by.
Some of the people who experienced the shipwreck on the cold night of Jan. 13, 2012, on Sunday wanted to return to the little island to pay tribute to the memory of the 30 dead and two who remain missing.
Symbolism and emotion were the common themes of the various events at the ceremony, starting with returning to the sea, with a commemorative plaque fixed upon it, part of the rocks on which the ship tore open its hull at 9:45 p.m. on that day on a cruise carrying more than 4,200 people.
One of the most emotional moments was the religious ceremony conducted by the bishop of Grosseto, Guglielmo Borghetti, on the small island of San Lorenzo and Mamiliano, which took in the shipwrecked passengers and crew and where on Sunday Environment Minister Corrado Clini and emergency management chief Franco Gabrielli were also on hand.
The half-sunken cruise ship, owned by Costa Cruceros, remains healed far over on its side off the island surrounded by gigantic metal structures to allow it to be removed, an effort that has been delayed for months and is significantly over-budget but which is forecast to be completed by September
That project, which is being undertaken by the Italian-U.S. Titan-Micoperi consortium, requires the work of 430 people - including engineers - from 19 nations seven days a week and will have a final cost of some $400 million. EFE