Costa Concordia: How ill-fated cruise liner was raised from Italian seabed
September 17, 2013 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
- Wreck of the Costa Concordia, one of the largest cruise ships ever built, raised from sea bed
- 952-foot ship ran aground in January 2012 on Tuscan island of Giglio, killing 32 passengers
- Unprecedented operation involves more than 500 workers, will cost at least $400 million
- Raising of Concordia is only first phase -- ship must then be dismantled at nearby port
(CNN) -- It's been 19 months since the Costa Concordia, one of the largest cruise liners ever built, ran aground off the west coast of Italy, killing 32 passengers and capsizing after granite rock tore a 50-meter hole in the ship's hull.
Now the rotting 952-foot wreck has been raised from its partially-submerged resting place off the Tuscan island of Giglio in what engineers say is a risky and unprecedented operation.
The salvage team used cables attached to hydraulic pumps to rotate the ship upright -- a process known as "parbuckling" -- from the seabed onto a platform, which consists of a series of cement bags and huge under-water steel structure.
After repairs are made to the previously submerged side of the Concordia, giant steel "caissons," or boxes, on the sides of the ship will be pumped full of air and the cruise liner will theoretically float to the surface and be towed to a nearby seaport -- hopefully all in one piece.
READ: What's inside of wrecked cruise ship?
Raising the Costa Concordia
Incredible drone video of Costa Concordia
The wreckage of the Costa Concordia cruise ship sits near the harbor of Giglio, Italy, on Tuesday, September 17, after a salvage crew rolled the ship off its side. The Costa Concordia ran aground off Giglio in January 2012, killing 32 of the 4,200 people on board.
Photos: The Costa Concordia disaster
Success was anything but guaranteed: Engineers had warned they would only have one shot at parbuckling the ship -- and any error during the hours-long process could have seen the ship break apart, or over-rotate off the underwater platforms and sink completely.
More than 500 people have been working around the clock on the rescue, which is being overseen by Florida-based Titan Salvage and the Italian firm Micoperi. The final bill will be at least $400 million, according to the salvage project's website.
But the raising of the Concordia is far from the end of the story. The bodies of two passengers are still yet to be retrieved from the wreckage of the $570 million ship, which was carrying more than 4,200 passengers and crew when it struck the granite rocks off Giglio on January 13, 2012.
READ: Has master mariner in charge of salvage met his match?
Even after the parbuckling and the repairs to the starboard side of the 114,500-ton vessel, the salvage crew will still have to wait for winter to pass before it can be towed to a nearby seaport to be taken apart.
It could also take years to fully restore Giglio's pristine waters and marine life to their previous state. The island is part of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, the largest protected marine area in the Mediterranean.
Five members of the Concordia's staff were sentenced in July to short prison terms for their roles in the disaster.
Francesco Schettino, the ship's captain, is being tried separately on charges of manslaughter, causing a maritime disaster and abandoning ship. His trial is set to resume in late September.
READ: How cruise ship tragedy transformed an island paradise
CNN's Erin McLaughlin and CNN Wires contributed to this report.
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The Costa Concordia disaster
October 8, 2013 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Divers have found what they believe are human remains on the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship.
September 17, 2013 -- Updated 1409 GMT (2209 HKT)
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September 16, 2013 -- Updated 1736 GMT (0136 HKT)
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September 16, 2013 -- Updated 1521 GMT (2321 HKT)
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September 16, 2013 -- Updated 1523 GMT (2323 HKT)
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September 17, 2013 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
Browse our interactive to see how one of the largest cruise liners ever built will finally be raised from the Italian sea bed.
July 22, 2013 -- Updated 0116 GMT (0916 HKT)
Five people were convicted of multiple manslaughter and causing personal injury over the deadly wreck of the Costa Concordia.
July 8, 2012 -- Updated 1911 GMT (0311 HKT)
The Costa Concordia disaster has brought changes to cruise industry safety while focusing on how some international companies operate.
July 6, 2012 -- Updated 1654 GMT (0054 HKT)
CNN's Dan Rivers asks: how could this happen, nearly 100 years after the Titanic?
June 27, 2012 -- Updated 1745 GMT (0145 HKT)
Two of the largest cruise ship industry organizations have announced new safety policies in the event of an emergency at sea.
February 10, 2012 -- Updated 2129 GMT (0529 HKT)
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January 24, 2012 -- Updated 2255 GMT (0655 HKT)
The cruise line issued a statement denying it offered discounts on future cruises to passengers affected by the tragedy.
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