For the first time in nearly 2 years, the cruise liner is sitting upright. It took 19 hours for crews to roll the 114,000-ton vessel off the rocks where it ran aground in January 2012.
The massive undertaking has never been done with such a large ship.
Work began early Monday morning after a three-hour delay due to thunderstorms. Crews hauled the ship off the rocks using thick cables and chains. Once the 952-foot ship was moved about 25 degrees, crews started drawing water into massive steel boxes attached to the exposed side of the hull. Using the weight of that water, they managed to finish rolling the hulk onto a steel platform built off the sea floor.
There’s still plenty of work to be done. A small robotic submarine with surveillance cameras will survey the damage of the ship and create models needed for the next phase of operations.
Water will then be pumped out, to refloat the vessel. It will then be towed away and dismantled in the Summer of 2014.
32 people died when the ship ran aground with 4,200 people on board. Two bodies, believed to be inside or below the vessel, have not been recovered.
The captain, Francesco Schettino, faces charges of manslaughter, causing a maritime disaster and abandoning ship with passengers still on board. His trial resumes September 23.
Wrecked Italian cruise ship hoisted upright