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The Costa Concordia cruise ship has been lying adrift off the coast of Italy for over a year now, but engineers finally came up with a plan to salvage the ship and are beginning to right it today.
According to Reuters, most of the 114,500-ton ship has been underwater since it struck land on January 13, 2012, killing 32 passengers. In the 20 months since the accident, it has come to dominate the view at the tiny Tuscan sea port.
The $795 million operation is easily the most complex maritime salvage job ever attempted. NBC News notes that there was a slight problem this morning when storms forced a two-hour delay but at 9 a.m. local time, officials gave the operation the green light and the operation began.
It is estimated that it will take 12 hours. Engineers are trying to rotate the ship with cranes and hydraulics, eventually getting it upright. They will try to slowly pull it back into the water and onto a large underwater platform. The following 60 Minutes story explains the full operation.
The Discovery Channel has also announced a special on the salvage operation called Inside Raising Concordia. It will air on Friday.
If all goes according to plan, the ship will be towed for scrap next spring.
image: Wikimedia Commons