More likely, salvagers would rely on cranes. It would not be easy—the wreck is far too massive for any single crane, Lacey says. The cranes not only would have to turn the ship upright, but hold it in place to keep it from sliding downward. To make their task easier, salvage teams would want to pump out as much water as possible, which would mean patching the massive gashes in its hull so that water does not rush back in, says Peter Tromp, manager at Dutch wreck removal company Euro Demolition.
Tromp doubts it could be done. Euro Demolition and Texas-based salvage firm T&T Bisso are partnering on a proposal to cut up the ship. "We think there's too much weight and too much damage to refloat it," Tromps says. Using cranes armed with metal shears capable of slicing five-centimeter-thick steel, the companies would carve the wreck into liftable chunks 200 to 300 metric tons in weight. Afterward, they would use electromagnets three meters in diameter to clean the seafloor of debris.
Towing, if it can be done, would be faster. "I've heard it's feasible to do it within six months," Lacey says. If Tromp and his colleagues do end up doing a chop job on the Costa Concordia, they estimate they can have it done in eight to 10 months.
Even if the Costa Concordia can be brought back to port in one piece, it seems very unlikely that it will be repaired and put back into service. "No one would want to travel on it," Lacey says.