After nearly 20 months of lying partially submerged in a Tuscan bay, the crippled Costa Concordia is once again upright. Engineers pulled off an unprecedented feat, taking some 19 hours to rotate the capsized ship in an operation known as parbuckling.
On Jan. 13, 2012, the Costa Concordia veered too close to the Italian shore, rammed into a reef, and capsized off the island's port, killing 32 people. The parbuckling operation, which should have taken only 12 hours, encountered several delays as crews maneuvered a complicated system of steel cables, pulleys, and counterweights that would help lift the massive vessel from its rocky seabed perch. The ship finally came to an upright position shortly after 4 a.m., at which time a foghorn wailed and applause rang out among firefighters and late-night onlookers.
But alas, the Concordia's recovery story is not yet complete. The ship's entire starboard side, which is covered in a thick brown slime, is completely wasted and will no doubt have trouble attaching to the tanks that are meant to help float the ship away. Crews will likely have to do extensive repairs to ready that side for the next phase, which could extend into another winter, the Associated Press reports.
Meanwhile, the Concordia's captain, Francesco Schettino, is on trial for alleged manslaughter. Schettino maintains that the reef wasn't on the nautical charts.