The wreck of the Costa Concordia cruise liner, which lies off the Tuscan island of Giglio, has been attracting tourists eager to see the once-magnificent ocean liner lying on its side, more than half submerged beneath the sea.
The cruise ship attracted much attention from the media when it ran aground after hitting rocks. The ship carrying 4,000 people could not recover from the collision and capsized on January 13 this year. The catastrophe claimed 32 lives, and some bodies have not yet been recovered.
The ship is still lying on its side and has now become a favourite spot for tourists, who visit the wreck site from nearby Santo Stefano, which is about 15km east and a part of the Italian mainland. From there they can take a ferry to view the wreckage site.
Tourists are prepared to pay EUR10 per ticket for a ferry to take them close enough to photograph the stricken craft.
Giglio’s mayor, Sergio Ortelli, said, ‘There has been a rise in the number of tourists coming for the day, with curious people taking photos of the giant sprawled on the rocks.’ He added that the Giglio had become some sort of a museum. He quickly added, ‘We prefer tourism that’s based on the sea and the environment.’
Plans are being made to re-float the ship and move it from the site by next year. It will be towed to a port, dismantled and sold as scrap.
Giglio’s environment councillor, Alessandro Centurioni, said, ‘The Concordia has become part of our landscape, but it has also spoiled it. Every time I see it, I feel the pain and sadness once more.’