Costa Concordia shipwreck pulled upright off Italian island of Giglio

Tuesday 17 September 2013 23.23
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The ship sank on 13 January 2012 off Giglio
The ship sank on 13 January 2012 off Giglio
The operation to raise the Costa Concordia cost over €600m
The operation to raise the Costa Concordia cost over €600m
Engineers worked deep into the night to complete the operation
Engineers worked deep into the night to complete the operation
It will stay in place for some months before being towed away
It will stay in place for some months before being towed away
The 'Parbuckling' operation took longer than estimated
The 'Parbuckling' operation took longer than estimated
An operation on this scale had never been undertaken before
An operation on this scale had never been undertaken before

Salvage crews on the Italian island of Giglio have raised the Costa Concordia cruise liner, completing one of the most complex salvage operations ever undertaken.

The 114,500-tonne ship was pulled upright by a series of huge jacks and cables in a 19-hour operation.

It was left resting in 30 metres of water on underwater platforms drilled into the rocky sea bed.

The success of the operation was announced in a brief statement by the head of Italy's Civil Protection Authority Franco Gabrielli.

Dozens of locals, who have lived with the wreck for over a year, came out to cheer the salvage crews.

The Concordia, carrying more than 4,000 passengers and crew, capsized and sank, killing 32 people on 13 January 2012.

It had sailed too close to shore and jagged rocks tore a hole in its side.

As first light broke, the marks of its long period on the rocks were visible.

Brown mud stains scarred the hull, which was gashed and dented after being crushed under its own weight.

As part of a salvage project estimated to cost more than €600 million, the vessel will remain in place for some months while it is stabilised and refloated before being towed away to be broken up for scrap.

The so-called "parbuckling" operation, in which the hulk was painstakingly rotated upright, took longer than the ten to 12 hours estimated, but engineers said it had gone exceptionally smoothly.

"The rotation happened the way we thought it would happen and the way we hoped it would happen," said Franco Porcellacchia, leader of Costa Cruise's technical team.

"It was a perfect operation, I would say."

A multinational team of 500 salvage engineers and divers was on Giglio for most of the past year, stabilising the wreck and preparing for the lifting operation, which had never been attempted on such a large vessel in such conditions.

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