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Italy says Costa cruise wreck to be towed on Tuesday

Italian salvage workers said they would begin towing away the Costa Concordia cruise ship wreck on a final voyage to the scrapyard on Tuesday - a day later than scheduled.

GIGLIO ISLAND, Italy: Italian salvage workers said they would begin towing away the Costa Concordia cruise ship wreck on a final voyage to the scrapyard on Tuesday - a day later than scheduled.

"We have decided it would be preferable to begin the operation on Tuesday," civil protection agency chief Franco Gabrielli, who is heading up the salvage, said on Saturday.

"We're entering the final phase," Gabrielli said.

Engineers explained that the ship had now been refloated by around six metres and would be raised further by around four metres before being dragged away from Giglio Island.

Giglio's mayor, Sergio Ortelli, said: "This is the moment all our citizens, Italians and the world have been waiting for. Let's cross our fingers and try to overcome this difficult moment."

The luxury liner crashed into the island on the night of January 13, 2012 with 4,229 people from 70 countries on board in a disaster that claimed 32 lives.

It keeled over with a massive gash in its hull, prompting a panicky evacuation. Its captain Francesco Schettino is on trial for manslaughter and for abandoning the ship.

Salvage operators said it would be towed by a Dutch vessel and a Vanuatu-flagged one at a speed of two knots an hour to reach the port of Genoa in around four days.

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