Timeline of Italian cruise ship disaster

On January 13, 2012, the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia ran aground at night off the Tuscan coast and pitched over onto its side, leaving 32 people dead.

Here is a timeline of the disaster as an unprecedented operation to recover the capsized ship wound up on Sunday with its arrival at a scrapyard in Genoa -- two and a half years after it foundered.

--2012--

- January 13: The liner sets sail from the port of Civitavecchia near Rome, carrying 4,229 people from 70 countries. Many passengers are sitting down to dinner when the ship strikes a rocky outcrop off Giglio, after captain Francesco Schettino orders a sail-by "salute" near the Tuscan island. The blackout sparks panic and the ship begins to list. Evacuation gets underway in the darkness more than an hour after the collision, by which point the lifeboats on one side of the tilting liner are unusable. People jump into the freezing waters to escape, while Schettino is found ashore.

- January 14: Prosecutors detain Schettino and his first officer on charges of manslaughter and abandoning ship. Schettino is three days later placed under house arrest.

- January 17: Italian media leak a transcript of a telephone conversation during the evacuation between a shaken Schettino on shore and a furious port official who orders him to "get back on board for fuck's sake".

Passengers in several countries start lodging suits against Costa Crociere, the ship's owner, which on January 27 agrees to pay uninjured passengers at least 11,000 euros ($15,000) each in compensation.

- February 12: Salvage workers begin pumping 2,400 tonnes of fuel from the liner in a bid to avoid an oil slick off Giglio's pristine coastline.

- September 13 : A pre-trial report says Costa may have failed to act promptly in the disaster, while still heaping much of the blame on Schettino -- dubbed "Captain Coward" in the local press.

--2013--

- April 10: Costa Crociere accepts limited responsibility for the disaster and is controversially fined just 1.0 million euros.

- July 17: The trial of Schettino begins in the city of Grosseto.

- July 20: A court accepts plea bargains for five other suspects -- four crew members and Costa Crociere's emergency unit executive -- who receive prison sentences ranging from one year and six months to two years and 10 months.

- September 17: The ship, which weighs 114,500 tons and is the length of almost three football fields, is hoisted upright in the biggest ever salvage operation of a passenger ship, over the course of 20 hours.

- October 8: Remains are found at the wreck of a female Italian passenger, one of the two victims still missing. The remains of an Indian waiter have still not been found.

--2014--

- May 6: The salvage, planned for June, is delayed after a giant flotation tank attached to the wreck falls off.

- June 30: The government chooses the port of Genoa for the scrapping operation, slated to cost around 100 million euros.

- July 14: The ship is floated off the underwater platform on which it has been resting for the first time since the crash.

- July 27: After a four-day journey up the coast of Italy, the liner is towed into the port of Genoa where it will be dismantled over two-year period.

bur-ide/ec