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Crews successfully float shipwrecked Concordia cruise ship ahead of tow to Genova scrapyard

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GIGLIO, Italy - The shipwrecked Costa Concordia was successfully refloated Monday in preparation to be towed away for scrapping, 30 months after it struck a reef and capsized, killing 32 people.

Authorities expressed satisfaction that the operation to float the Concordia from an underwater platform had proceeded without a hitch. Technicians were preparing to shift it some 30 metres (yards) and then anchor the massive cruise ship before ending the day's operations.

The entire operation to remove the Concordia from the reef and float it to Genoa, where it will be scrapped, will cost a total of 1.5 billion euros ($2 billion), Costa Crociere SpA CEO Michael Tamm told reporters.

The heavily listing ship was dragged upright in a daring manoeuvr last September, and then crews fastened huge tanks to its flanks to float it. Towing is set to begin July 21. It's about 200 nautical miles (320 kilometres) to Genoa and the trip is expected to take five days.

"The operation began well, but it will be completed only when we have finished the transport to Genoa," Italian Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti told reporters Monday.

Concordia's Italian captain is being tried in Tuscany for manslaughter, causing the shipwreck and abandoning ship before all were evacuated.

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