Work to pull the shipwrecked Costa Concordia upright begins early on Monday morning.
Italian officials said the sea and weather conditions were just right and explained how the salvage operation would progress:
Civil Protection Agency spokeswoman, Francesca Maffini, said: “There will be three main phases, the first is detaching the wreckage from the reef, and then the ship should start to rotate and eventually come to rest on the platforms.”
Engineers will try to roll the ship up and onto underwater platforms, in a process called ‘parbuckling’. The process has to be carried out very slowly to prevent further damage to the hull.
Divers will then look for the bodies of two missing passengers.
Head of the Italian Civil Protection agency, Franco Gabrielli said: “Only when the vessel is under secure conditions, will we begin to search for the last two victims, who are still under the water. In order to permit their families, that as you know are Italian and Indian, to have the bodies of their beloved”.
Thirty-two people died when the cruise ship hit rocks off the Tuscan island of Giglio in January 2012. Five people have already been convicted of manslaughter and the ship’s captain is currently on trial.
Once upright, the giant liner will remain in place during winter and in spring be towed away and broken up for scrap