Sept. 17 - Celebrations as the wreck of the Costa Concordia is successfully righted off the Italian coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION
Cheers and the sound of a ship's horn rang out on Tuesday (September 17) as salvage crews completed raising the wreck of the Costa Concordia in the early hours of the morning.
Engineers successfully completed the 19-hour-long operation on the Italian island of Giglio where the huge cruise liner capsized in January last year.
One of the most complex and expensive maritime salvage operations ever attempted saw the 114,500-tonne ship pulled upright by a series of huge jacks and cables and set on artificial platforms drilled into the rocky sea bed.
The operation was completed at around 4 a.m. (0200 GMT) without any significant problems.
The Concordia, a 290-metre-long (950-foot-long) liner carrying more than 4,000 passengers and crew, capsized and sank with the loss of 32 lives on Jan. 13, 2012 after it struck rocks outside Giglio, where it has lain ever since, half-submerged on a rock shelf.
The vessel bore the marks of its long period on the rocks, with brown mud stains scarring the hull and clear signs of deformation to the structure.
After a salvage operation estimated to have cost more than 600 million euros ($801.15 million), the vast hulk will remain in place for some months more while it is stabilised and refloated before being towed away to be broken up for scrap.
It is expected to be the most expensive maritime wreck recovery ever, accounting for more than half of an overall insurance loss of more than $1.1 billion.
The operation known as parbuckling, in which the giant hulk was painstakingly rotated upright, took longer than the 10-12 hours initially estimated but engineers said the project had gone exceptionally smoothly.
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