Costa Concordia: Capsized Ship Is Pulled Upright

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Engineers in Italy have succeeded in setting the cruise ship Costa Concordia upright, 20 months after it capsized off the island of Giglio, reports the BBC.

In the complicated, 19-hour operation to wrench the ship from its side – which took all of Monday and most of the night – engineers used cables and metal water tanks to roll the ship onto a platform, said the BBC. The ship was declared completely upright at 4 a.m. local time on Tuesday.

The submerged side of the ship suffered significant damage after 20 months of bearing the weight of the rest of the ship and the operation to right it, officials said, according to the Independent. The operation to rotate the ship – known as parbuckling in nautical terms – was expected to take no more than 12 hours, but dragged on after some initial delays and maintenance to the large system of steel chains and winches, reported the Independent.

While parbuckling is a standard operation to right capsized ships, it has never before been used on such a huge cruise liner, says the Independent. And it came with a cost to match the feat: the $800 million price tag for recovery will be footed by the cruise line Costa Crociere.

“I think the whole team is proud of what they achieved because a lot of people didn’t think it could be done,” said the salvage master Nick Sloane according to the BBC.

The Costa Concordia capsized on Jan. 13, 2012, after the captain brought it too close to shore. Some 32 people were killed and two of the bodies have never been recovered. Five people have been convicted of manslaughter over the disaster and the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, is currently on trial accused of manslaughter and abandoning ship, reports the BBC.

WATCH: Time-lapse footage of the Costa Concordia salvage operation