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Salvage crews rush for 1 chance to move Concordia

The Concordia has compressed 10 feet since it came to rest on rocks in January 2012.

Gregorio Borgia/Associated Press

The Concordia has compressed 10 feet since it came to rest on rocks in January 2012.

GIGLIO, Italy — Salvage crews are working against time to remove the shipwrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship, which is steadily being crushed under its own weight on its granite seabed off the Tuscan island of Giglio. Officials said Monday that if this attempt fails, there won’t be a second chance.

Nick Sloane, the leader of the operation, said the Concordia has compressed some 10 feet since it came to rest on the rocks Jan. 13, 2012, after ramming a jagged reef during a publicity stunt allegedly ordered by the captain; 32 people were killed.

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Sloane, an engineer for US-owned company Titan Salvage, said experts would have one chance to pull the ship upright and float it away to the mainland for demolition. The attempt will probably take place in mid-September. ‘‘We cannot put it back’’ down and start over, said Sloane.

Sloane spoke aboard a work boat as he accompanied journalists for a close-hand look of the wreckage on the eve of the trial of Captain Francesco Schettino, who is charged with manslaughter, causing a shipwreck, and abandoning the ship before all passengers had been evacuated. The trial, which was supposed to get underway July 9, was postponed until Wednesday due to a lawyers’ strike.

The timetable to remove the Concordia has also suffered delays. The original timetable envisioned removal before start of this summer, but harsh weather undermined those plans.

‘‘We had a rough winter,’’ said Sloane, explaining that winter’s rough sea conditions made it risky for diving teams to install cement-filled bags that would provide a more stable base on which to roll the ship upright.

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