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How to Salvage a Capsized Cruise Ship

The Costa Concordia cruise ship was pulled upright Tuesday morning, one of the largest salvage operations in history.

The capsized ship is now sitting off the Italian island of Giglio. The 950-foot-long, 114,500-ton luxury liner was carrying more than 4,000 passengers and crew last January when it sunk, killing 32 people. Hundreds of salvage technicians and divers have been on the island since, stabilizing the wreck and preparing for the "parbuckling" operation, which included rotating the ship with cranes and hydraulic machines until it was finally twisted upright.


The island where crews are salvaging the sunken cruise ship View Larger Map

It took 19 hours (twice the originally estimated time), to get the Concordia upright. It'll stay in its current spot for at least a few more months before being towed away and scrapped.
 


The entire effort to salvage the Concordia is expected to cost over $800 million. It's the most expensive maritime wreck recovery ever.

Meanwhile, the ship's captain, Francesco Schettino, is currently on trial for manslaughter and causing a shipwreck. Schettino, who earned the nickname "Captain Coward," denies the charges. He says that he was  turned into a scapegoat and that he in fact saved lives through his maneuverings in response to the crash.

The Costa Concordia ship lies on its side on the Tuscan Island of Giglio, Italy, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

People look on as the capsized cruise liner Costa Concordia lies on its side next to Giglio Island September 16, 2013. (REUTERS/Tony Gentile) 

Salvage crew workers work on a side of the capsized Costa Concordia cruise liner outside Giglio harbour September 16, 2013. (REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

Salvage crew work on part of the capsized cruise after the start of the parbuckling operation September 16, 2013. (REUTERS/ Tony Gentile)

Cables used for the parbuckling of the Costa Concordia September 16, 2013. (REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

Salvage crew workers are seen in front of Costa Concordia after the start of the parbuckling operation September 16, 2013. (REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

The capsized cruise liner lies on its side next to Giglio Island September 16, 2013. (REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

The Costa Concordia is seen at the end of the parbuckling operation September 17, 2013. (REUTERS/Tony Gentile) 

The damaged side of the Costa Concordia at the end of the parbuckling operation September 17, 2013. (REUTERS/Tony Gentile) 

The damaged side of Costa Concordia at the end of the parbuckling operation. (REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

The capsized cruise liner is seen at the end of the parbuckling operation. (REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

Keywords: Cruises, Italy

Mark Byrnes is an associate editor at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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