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Costa Concordia Salvage Operation Completed In Italy (VIDEO/PHOTOS)

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The crippled Costa Concordia cruise ship was pulled completely upright early Tuesday during a complicated, 19-hour operation to wrench it from its side where it capsized last year off Tuscany, with officials declaring it a “perfect” end to a daring and unprecedented engineering feat.

Shortly after 4 a.m., a foghorn wailed on Giglio Island and the head of Italy’s Civil Protection agency, Franco Gabrielli, announced that the ship had reached vertical and that the operation to rotate it – known in nautical terms as parbuckling – was complete.

“We completed the parbuckling operation a few minutes ago the way we thought it would happen and the way we hoped it would happen,” said Franco Porcellacchia, project manager for the Concordia’s owner, Costa Crociere SpA.

“A perfect operation, I must say,” with no environmental spill detected so far, he said.

Applause rang out among firefighters in the tent where the project engineers made the announcement. An hour later, Nick Sloane, the South African chief salvage master, received a hero’s welcome as he came ashore from the barge that had served as the floating command control room for the operation.

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Costa Concordia Salvage Operation

Salvage operators in Italy lifted the Costa Concordia cruise ship upright from its watery grave off the island of Giglio in the biggest ever project of its kind. (Photo by VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images) | Getty
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Italy Approves Attempt To Set Costa Concordia Upright, Plan To Tow Ship’s Remains To Port

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Italy has given the go-ahead for an ambitious attempt to set upright the Costa Concordia cruise liner, which went aground near an Italian island in 2012, killing 32 people.

The national Civil Protection agency said Friday the operation will be carried out later this month, once final safety certificates are issued. The exact date depends on calm seas near Giglio Island.

If engineers and crews succeed in righting the Concordia, the vessel will be eventually towed to a port for dismantling.

The manslaughter trial of the Concordia’s captain, Francesco Schettino, resumes on Sept. 23. The ship struck a reef, took on water and listed badly before capsizing off Giglio’s port.

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italy costa concordia upright

Tourists stand on rocks near the Costa Concordia cruise ship on August 25, 2013 at Giglio Island. (VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
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