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Wreck Still Looms Over Concordia Anniversary

GIGLIO ISLAND, Italy – Two years after the Costa Concordia famously capsized off the Italian island of Giglio, authorities and locals remembered the 32 passengers who lost their lives in a somber commemoration ceremony.

A wreath is laid at sea for the lives lost when the massive Costa Concordia crashed two years ago, killing 32. Claudio Lavanga / NBC News

In the morning, a mass in memory of the 32 people who died in the shipwreck was held at the church in the port where hundreds of stranded cold and wet passengers found refuge on the night of January 13, 2011.

Later, the island’s mayor Sergio Ortelli laid a wreath in the sea, next to the Concordia, in memory of the victims.

“We never really got used to seeing it here,” Ortelli said. “It used to be a beautiful ship, but now it’s only a bundle of rusty scrap iron. It will be a relief to see it go away, we can now go back to be the island we were, famous not for the Concordia, but for our beautiful nature and sea.”

This is likely to be the final anniversary of the tragedy to be commemorated with the massive wreck in plain sight: the Concordia is expected to be towed away in June, the final phase of the biggest and most expensive salvage operation in history.