The shipwrecked Costa Concordia has finally been refloated, two and a half years after it ran aground and capsized off the coast of Italy, killing 32 people.
The giant cruise ship was hauled upright last September onto an underwater platform. Authorities said the operation to float the liner from the platform had gone smoothly.
“The ship has detached from the platforms with the prow and with the stern. I think that at the moment there is one metre clearance between the ship and the platform,” said engineering manager Franco Porcellacchia.
As the final salvage phase is underway, Italians living on the nearby island of Giglio were glad to see the last of the shipwreck.
Local Antonio Bellardo said: “Our hope is that everything goes well and they take this away with success, that they remove as quickly as possible this testimony to human weakness.”
The Costa Concordia is due to be towed to its home port of Genoa on July 21, where it will then be scrapped.
The total cost of removing the shipwreck will be around 1.5 billion euros, to be paid for by insurers.