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story.lead_photo.caption Experts aboard a sea platform carry oil recovery equipment as they return to the port of the Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, where the cruise ship Costa Concordia, visible in background, ran aground, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012. Rough seas off Italy's Tuscan coast forced a delay in the planned Saturday start of the operation to remove a half-million gallons of fuel from the grounded Costa Concordia, and officials said pumping may now not begin until midweek. - Photo by Pier Paolo Cito / AP

Carnival Corp.’s Costa Crociere SpA said the removal of the shipwrecked Costa Concordia from Giglio island in Italy was awarded to Titan Salvage and Micoperi.

The operation, subject to final approval by Italian authorities, will begin early next month and is expected to take about a year, the company said today in a statement.

The wreck will be removed in one piece, re-floated and towed to an Italian port, Costa Crociere said. Fuel removal was completed on March 24 and throughout the operation environmental protection will have “top priority,” the company said.

Pompano Beach, Florida-based Titan Salvage, is a unit of Crowley Maritime Corporation and has performed more than 350 salvage and wreck removal projects since being founded in 1980, according to its website. The operation will be carried out in partnership with Micoperi, an Italian marine contractor.

The Costa Concordia ran aground near Giglio hours after leaving a port close to Rome with 4,200 passengers and crew on Jan. 13, leaving at least 25 people dead.

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