ROME, July 23 (UPI) -- Two-and-a-half years after running aground off Italy's Giglio Island, the Costa Concordia began its final voyage on Wednesday.
The cruise ship was successfully re-floated last week. Large metal boxes were attached to its partially-submerged hull and filled with compressed air to create buoyancy.
Escorted by 17 boats, the Costa Concordia will slowly make its way to Genoa, 150 miles away, where it will be dismantled over a period of two years. The naval entourage is expected to reach Genoa on Sunday.
The ship capsized in January 2012 after striking rocks near Giglio Island in the Mediterranean Sea. Thirty-two people died in the incident, and former captain Francesco Schettino is currently on trial in Gresseto on multiple homicide charges.
Since the ship sank, 24 metric tons of debris from the cruise ship have been removed from the ocean floor. Concerns about the environmental impact of the shipwreck influenced the decision to re-float the Costa Concordia and dismantle it elsewhere.