There were celebrations in the dark as the stricken cruise liner Costa Concordia was raised.
The sight of the upright hull at just after four o’clock in the morning was greeted with celebrations by the locals on the island of Giglio and by the engineers who had raised her in a 19 hour salvage operation at a cost of more than 600 million euros.
It was one of the most expensive and complex operations of its kind.
Engineers confirmed there had been no problems ‘parbuckling’ or breaking the huge hulk away from the rocks.
“It was a perfect operation, I would say, and from the environmental point of view I have to say there is no evidence so far of any impact to the environment,” confirmed Franco Porcellacchia vice-president of Carnival Corporation
The 114,000 ton ship, which was carrying more than 4,000 passengers and crew when it capsized in January 2012, was eased off the rocks on which it floundered. Some 32 people lost their lives in the accident while two bodies have never been recovered.
The ship now has to be stabilised and a detailed inspection carried out to prepare for the next stage. The once luxury liner will be refloated and within months towed away to be broken up for scrap.