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Published June 11, 2012

A 'Costa Concordia' update

What's the latest on the Costa Concordia? Did they recover the missing? Have they unloaded all the fuel? Will it be refloated?

Titan Salvage, which won the contract to remove the Costa Concordia's wreckage, plans to raise the submerged part of the ship and tow it for demolition. An official with Titan Salvage, which is based in Pompano Beach, said at a news conference in Rome on May 18 that the goal is to "use brains, (and) not as much brawn to remove the Costa Concordia without having it slip into much deeper water."

He said the largest obstacle to overcome is to "roll the vessel upright on a platform and to safely float" it to an Italian port that hasn't been selected. "The magnitude of the job . . . is something unprecedented," said Capt. Richard Habib, Titan Salvage's managing director.

Officials want to have the ship upright by the winter and to begin towing in 2013, but holes will have to be repaired to make sure it can float.

About 4,200 people were aboard the Costa Concordia when it struck a reef off the Italian coast on Jan. 13. Thirty-two people were killed; all but two of the bodies have been recovered. Smit Salvage, a Dutch company, reported in March that it had removed all of the fuel from the ship.

Raising funds to find Earhart

Who is funding the search for the remains of Amelia Earhart?

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, or TIGHAR, a privately funded group, is working to raise $2 million for a new expedition to find Earhart, navigator Fred Noonan and their Lockheed Electra airplane, which disappeared over the south Pacific Ocean in 1937.

The United States is offering some logistical support, but no funding, reported. TIGHAR has received an exclusive license to search the "deep waters off the reef at Nikumaroro in the Republic of Kiribati," according to the group's website ( It will start in July and last 10 days. The Discovery Channel will televise a documentary on the expedition later this year.

The man, meaning of 'mayday'

How did the word mayday get to mean an emergency?

Frederick Stanley Mockford, a senior radio officer at Croydon Airport in London, came up with the term in 1923, according to the National Maritime Museum Cornwall in Falmouth, England. He needed a word to be used by aircraft in distress and decided on "mayday." It comes from the French phrase venez m'aider, which means "come help me."

"M'aider" sounds like the English word "mayday." Mockford chose mayday because much of the air traffic at the time was between his airport and Le Bourget Airport in Paris. The protocol is to say it three times in a row: "Mayday. Mayday. Mayday." Then the person in distress would identify himself, his position and his problem.