Costa Concordia cruise liner set upright

Head of Italy's Civil Protection Authority says wrecked ship successfully raised from rocks off Giglio island.

    Salvage crews have completed raising the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise liner, after a 19-hour long operation on the Italian island of Giglio.

    Franco Gabrielli, the head of Italy's Civil Protection Authority confirmed on Tuesday that the salvage operation had been completed, hours after it hit the tipping point just before midnight local time (2200 GMT) on Monday.

    It took 15 hours for the 114,500-ton Concordia, which is being refloated for scrapping, to hit the tipping point, after crews lifted it from a rock shelf earlier on Monday.

    The most complex and costly salvage operation of its kind began at 9am local time (0700 GMT) after a three-hour delay owing to an overnight storm, and progress was slower than originally estimated.

    Salvage crews used a series of huge jacks and cables to set the ship on an artificial platform drilled into the rocky sea bed.

    "The ship has been settled on to its platforms," Gabrielli said.

    The Concordia had been half-submerged on its side near Giglio since it ran aground and sank with the loss of 32 lives on January 13, 2012.

    It was carrying more than 4,000 people when it hit rocks off and capsized.

    Two bodies have yet to be recovered and underwater cameras failed to find any sign of them as darkness fell.

    "They must still be under the keel of the Concordia and I hope after this finally they (relatives) will have a grave can cry over," said Luciano Castro, a 49-year-old journalist who was on the ship when it sank.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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