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The operation to remove the wreckage of the Costa Concordia from the Italian coastline has faced many challenges but one in particular has caught the attention of environmentalists. Giant Mussels, which are protected under European law due to their dwindling numbers because of years of fishing and pollution, have been found beneath the cruise ship.
The removal of the ship will take over one year and will require an underwater platform to be built so the hull of the ship can be lifted out of the water. Moving the mussels will put them out of danger.
The Pinna Nobilis tend to live at a depth of 20 metres (65 feet) and can grow nearly a metre (three feet) long.
According to Andrea Belluscio, the marine biologist in charge of environmental monitoring of the Costa Concordia removal works, estimates that some of the mussels found were between 15 and 20 years old.
Operations to remove the wreck of the luxury liner Costa Concordia from the reef of Isola del Giglio off the Tuscan coast have been carried out for some months and are still ongoing, but the phase to make it safe is over.
Water-filled structures called caissons, fixed to the side of the vessel that is out of the water, will pull the ship upright and when it is upright, caissons will also be fixed to the other side of the hull. They will be emptied and filled with air and once floated, the wreck will be towed away to a port where it will be dismantled.
The operation, which was due to begin in May of this year has been delayed until at least June 2013.