14 July 2014
Last updated at 06:05
Hundreds of divers and engineers have been involved in preparing the Costa Concordia for refloating
The wrecked Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia is being raised in one of the biggest maritime salvage operations in history.
Workers are slowly lifting the vessel by pumping air into tanks attached to the ship. The refloating operation is expected to take six or seven days.
The ship will then be towed to its home port, Genoa, where it will be scrapped.
The Concordia struck a reef off the Italian island of Giglio in January 2012 and capsized, killing 32 people.
The wreck was hauled upright in September but is still partially submerged, resting on six steel platforms.
“It’s a very complex operation,” Franco Gabrielli, the head of the civil protection agency overseeing the salvage, told reporters.
“The first phase of the operation will be the most dangerous because the vessel will be detached from the platforms.”
The cruise ship capsized in January 2012, killing 32 people
The vessel was winched upright in 2013 but remains partially submerged
It will be towed to Genoa Port for scrapping and demolition
He added that a search for the remains of Indian waiter Russel Rebello, whose body was not recovered from the wreck, would be carried out after the vessel was moved.
An engineer with Costa Crociere, the cruise operator, described the salvage efforts as “unprecedented”.
“As with anything being done for the first time, there are risks. But we are confident,” Franco Porcellacchia said.
Hundreds of divers and engineers have been involved in operations to salvage the Concordia, which is twice the size of the Titanic.
Local residents have said they are glad the wreckage will be removed.
“I am happy they are taking it away because to see a ship like that always there, with the deaths that happened, it gives us the shivers,” Italo Arienti told Reuters news agency.
The captain, Francesco Schettino, is on trial for manslaughter and abandoning ship, charges he denies.