Concordia pulled upright

By Tom Stieghorst

Concordia wreck uprightThe operation to raise the partly sunken Costa Concordia to an upright position was successfully completed about 4 a.m. Italian time on Tuesday.

It was a triumph for the salvage team comprised of Titan Salvage of Fort Lauderdale and the Italian maritime engineering firm Micoperi, which designed the complex parbuckling scheme.

Concordia was the largest passenger ship ever to be tilted upright. The ship is now resting on an underwater platform constructed to support it while plans are readied to refloat it and tow it away.

A line of brown slime marks the former waterline on Concordia, which lay at a 65 degree angle for more than 18 months after grounding on a reef off the island of Giglio.

The ship reached a tipping point at midnight when the caissons welded to its port side reached the sea surface and could begin to be filled with water, using the weight of gravity rather than cables and jacks to pull the ship toward a vertical position.

Jacks used to raise the ship began their work around 9 a.m. local time on Sept. 16 after being delayed slightly by a passing storm.

Having raised the ship, engineers will begin inspecting the starboard side, which was face down on the reef until now. If the ship structure is intact, the plan is to tow it to port next spring to be scrapped.

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