The Costa Concordia is being raised from a rocky Italian seabed after a parbuckling effort proved successful.
Engineers took the the task of raising the Costa Concordia from its seabed perch on a Tuscan reef where close to two years ago the ship ran aground and capsized. To raise the 115,000-ton ship, the Italian government used a two-step process called parbuckling, in which they rotated the vessel into an upright position and hoisted the ship using dozens of pulleys.
This process has been used before, but officials said the Costa Concordia would be the largest ship to ever use parbuckling.
The parbuclking project was an attempt to salvage the Costa Concordia without having to destroy it, and it appears the approach worked out. On Monday morning, engineers told reporters that the process of detaching the 952-foot-long ship from the reef was working out as planned.
It took engineers close to three hours to get the ship to budge, but, after applying 6,000 pounds of force, they could see the ship begin to detach.
“It is absolutely clear that the rotation is ongoing and it happened as we expected,” said Franco Gabrielli of the Civil Protection Agency.
The Costa Concordia ran aground on January 12, 2012. The crash left 32 people dead and dozens of others had to be rescued from the water by helicopters.
There are still two bodies missing from the Costa Concordia crash, but engineers said the parbuckling process has not turned up anything yet.
Even if the ship is raised, there are still many concerns from locals about the rescue effort. The ship has close to 240 cubic meters of polluted water inside and could pose a serious threat to the pristine waters outside Giglio, local officials worry.
The raising of the Costa Concordia drew large crowds to the scene, and the process was even broadcast live online.