Dawn broke for the first time over an upright Costa Concordia on Tuesday (September 17) after a 19-hour-long successful operation to haul the ship off the rocks on the Italian island of Giglio.

One of the most complex and expensive maritime salvage operations ever attempted saw the 114,500-ton 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.

"I feel good, relaxed," said the man who had led the operation, Salvage Master Nicholas Sloane.

"We had a big team that worked very hard over the last eighteen months. We had a plan that we thought would come together and it did. We needed a bit of luck with the weather, we had some bad weather before we started and we got some bad weather coming tomorrow but inbetween you plan, you prepare and you get lucky," he added.

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 (£503 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.

The parbuckling operation, 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.

In contrast to the accident, a catalogue of mishap and misjudgment over which the Concordia's captain Francesco Schettino faces multiple charges, the salvage operation has so far been a tightly coordinated engineering feat.

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 £690 million.

Presented by Adam Justice

Read more: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/506589/20130917/costa-concordia-ship-salvage-parbuckling-giglio-italy.htm