Salvage Success: Costa Concordia Righted

After a massive and complicated salvage effort, the cruise ship Costa Concordia has been successfully righted off the coast of Italy.

Overseen by South African salvage master Nick Sloane, the operation — employing a method called parbuckling to rotate the ship to vertical — began at 9 am Monday and lasted 19 hours. After 4 am the next morning, a fog horn was sounded, and Franco Gabrielli, the head of Italy’s Civil Protection Authority, declared the operation completed. It had been 20 months since disaster struck the luxury liner on January 13, 2012 off the coast of Italy, crippling the luxury cruise ship and killing 30 passengers with two more presumed dead.

Under the command of Captain Francesco Schettino, the Costa Concordia ran aground, breaching her hull and flooding off the coast of Isola del Giglio. Claiming familiarity with the local waters, Schettino had deviated from the ship’s route and veered close to land in order to salute a former captain residing on the island. He is currently being tried for multiple counts of manslaughter and causing a shipwreck.

There have been no signs of the remains of the two passengers unaccounted for, Russel Rebello of India and Maria Grazia Trecarichi of Sicily.

The parbuckling operation, involving a synchronized effort of pulleys and counterweights to bring the vessel upright, was the most complex ever performed. It involved rotating the 114-ton ship 65 degrees in order to bring it completely vertical. After bringing the ship vertical, the next step in the process was to secure water tanks to the hull in order to maintain buoyancy. After overseeing the grueling effort, Sloane decided to call it a day.

“I think the whole team is proud of what they achieved. A lot of people said it couldn’t be done,” Sloane said.

“I feel good, it’s time for a beer,” he added.