GIGLIO ISLAND, Italy — Engineers declared success Tuesday as the crippled Costa Concordia cruise ship was pulled completely upright during an unprecedented, 19-hour operation to wrench it from its side where it capsized last year off Tuscany.
The remarkable maritime salvage project now allows for a renewed search for the two bodies that were never recovered from the 32 people killed in the shipwreck, and for the ship to eventually be towed away.
The Concordia's submerged side suffered significant damage during the 20 months it bore the weight of the ship on the jagged reef, and the daylong operation to right it stressed that flank as well. Exterior balconies were mangled and entire sections looked warped, though officials said the damage probably looked worse than it really was.
The damage must be repaired to stabilize the ship so it can withstand the coming winter, when seas and winds will whip the luxury liner, which is to be towed and turned into scrap sometime in 2014.