THE wreck of the Costa Concordia arrived yesterday off the northern Italian city of Genoa where it will be broken up for scrap, two-and-a-half years after the cruise liner ran aground and sank near the Tuscan island of Giglio, killing 32 people.

After a four-day voyage of almost 200 miles from Giglio, port pilots began manoeuvring into position the 114,500-tonne hulk, which was lifted off the rocks and refloated last week as part of one of the largest and most complex maritime salvages ever attempted.

The Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, was expected in Genoa later on to hail the completion of the operation which restored some pride to Italy after a disaster that was widely interpreted as a national humiliation as well as a human tragedy.

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In contrast to the calamitous night of January 13, 2012, when the Concordia came too close to the shore during a display sometimes performed by cruise ships known as a "salute", the salvage operation has been a resounding technical success.

"This is not a celebration," Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti told reporters at the port where the liner was built and launched.

"We have to think of the victims, but it has to be said that keeping the Concordia in Italy is a great occasion for our country."

"We have excellent technology and we are capable of undertaking great things," he said.