As the colossal Costa Concordia cruise ship is raised from the waters off the Italian island of Giglio, engineers are bearing witness to the most complicated task of its kind in maritime history. The 114,500-ton vessel, which capsized in January 2012, killing 32 people, is twice the size of the Titanic. And turning it upright to haul it to land has never been tried before with a vessel this size and so close to the shore. The operation has been eyed by environmentalists, who worry that a toxic waste spill could pollute the Mediterranean waters around the island. It has also raised eyebrows for its price tag: 600 million euros and counting, in an age of austerity.The lifting of the vessel is expected to take all day today, and engineers have already reported that they successfully separated from ship from the reef on which it has been lying. Hopes are high that the salvage effort will not cause the boat to break apart in the process.
Costa Concordia: mammoth salvage effort could break records Christian Science Monitor