Giglio, Italy — The unprecedented operation of raising the Costa Concordia cruise ship began Monday morning after a delay of three hours because of thunderstorms, according to a CNN report.
The giant ship made global headlines when it struck rocks and turned on its side on January 13, 2012, off the coast of Italy, near the island of Giglio. The accident killed 32 of the 4,200 people on board.
Engineer Sergio Girotto said he optimistically expects the operation to take about 12 hours, though it could take up to two days.
“I don’t think we will continue into the night,” he said. “After we start pulling, we should see something.”
By midday, the ship had been raised 3 degrees, or a few meters (6 to 10 feet), Girotto said.
The operation is a massive project that has never been done with such a large ship, and the cost has been as estimated $800 million so far.
The bodies of two victims of the January 2012 accident are believed to be still in or near the wreckage.
If the operation goes well, the ship should lift off the rocks in one piece. If not, it could be disastrous, as the ship could break apart. Image/AFP