The Concordia incident could continue to hurt the Costa Cruises brand and profitability for another three years, according to parent company, Carnival Corporation.

The ship sunk early last year after hitting rocks just off the Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy.  Thirty-two people died in the crash.

Speaking at a press conference this week, Carnival chairman Micky Arison said that great brands have setbacks and recover, but the economic situation in southern Europe is preventing Costa from recovering sooner, Reuters reported.

Since the incident, Coast has had to discount its prices by up to 12 percent to fill the ships. Mr Arison said it could take two to three years to get the line back to where it was pre-Concordia.

He said: “Costa is already beginning to recover, studies of acceptance suggest it (the brand) has recovered nicely.

“It hasn’t come 100 percent back but you wouldn’t expect that.”

Despite its struggle, Mr Arison said Costa is still the number one cruise brand in Italy, France, South America and China and is likely to return to profit this year.

The company published its third quarter results this week, but did not highlight profits of individual brands.

Overall, Carnival reported a non-Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) net income of $1.1 billion for the quarter, down from US$1.2 billion during third quarter last year.

Earlier this month, the half sunken Concordia was rotated and drained. Local authorities are inspecting the ship to determine when she can be towed to shore.