In what has become one of the largest ship salvage operations, the wreck of the Costa Concordia cruise ship has been successfully refloated almost two and a half years after it sank in January 2012.
Having been resting on an underwater, steel platform built by engineers and divers since September last year, the ship has been successfully refloated today in order to be shortly towed away to its home port of Genoa for scrap.
Franco Porcellacchia, the engineer in charge of the salvage commented to press, "The boat is now floating with its sponsons attached. The ship is upright and is not listing either longitudinally or latitudinally. This is extremely positive."
The ship famously capsized and ran aground on rocks near the Tuscan holiday island of Giglio while carrying out a display manoeuvre.
In order to be able to float again, air was pumped into large metal type boxes which were attached around the hull of the 290m ship. The air then forced out the water in the boxes, lifting the vessel off of the temporary platform, however the refloating operation is expected to take around a week.
More than 450 specialists involved in this operation completed the stabilisation of the ship on the sea shore. The price of the disaster is thought to cost over 1.5 billion euros.