SHIP recycling firm Able UK is in the running to dismantle the stricken Costa Concordia cruise liner which hit rocks in the Mediterranean.
The firm is one of 12 from across Europe bidding for the contract to dismantle the ship after it is salvaged during the summer.
The cruise ship sank almost two years ago near an Italian island during a seven-day Mediterranean cruise.
The job of importing the wreckage to be scrapped was put out to tender by London Offshore Consultants – three days before the second anniversary of the tragedy.
A spokesman for Able UK, said: “Able UK can confirm that it is in a tender process regarding the potential recycling of the Costa Concordia at its Teesside Environmental Reclamation and Recycling facility (TERRC) at Able Seaton Port in Hartlepool on the River Tees.
“TERRC was of course the yard selected by both the French and US governments to recycle the former French aircraft carrier, Le Clemenceau and vessels from the US MARAD fleet respectively.
“The facility, including one of the world’s largest dry docks, has full planning permissions and environmental accreditations to undertake this type of activity. The previous contracts were completed in October 2010 and employed over 100 personnel.”
The team leading the Costa Concordia salvage operation will begin removing the stricken cruise liner from near the Italian island of Giglio in June.
It is more than 10 years since the former US Navy reserve vessel the Caloosahatchee arrived in Hartlepool, the first of four initial ships to be dismantled by town firm Able UK.
Able had hoped to bring in another nine ships soon and eventually dismantle 167 of the vessels.
By 2008, Able hoped to create more than 1,000 jobs with plans for the 800ft French aircraft carrier Clemenceau to be scrapped in the town.
But campaigners against the ghost ships argued over the environmental effects on Hartlepool, claiming the ships were filled with hazardous material.
Five years of legal and local authority debate followed before Able UK was finally granted a waste management licence in 2008, the permission it needed to dismantle the vessels.