Environment Undersecretary Flavio Cirillo told the environment committee of Parliament's Chamber of Deputies Thursday the removal operation would be at risk if the ship stayed at its location for another winter.
The ship has been lying on its side in shallow water near the Tuscan island of Giglio since it ran aground in January 2012 in an accident in which 32 people died.
Civil Protection Department chief Franco Gabrielli said in June he hoped the ship could be righted in September, then towed away. Last month he said operations could be stopped until next year unless the salvage company responsible for the ship's removal provides additional protections, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]