Engineers are declaring success after the Costa Concordia cruise ship was pulled upright during a 19-hour operation to wrench it from its side where it capsized last year off Tuscany.
Rebecca Cruise, the Assistant Dean of the College of International Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says the project now allows for a renewed search for the two bodies that were never recovered from the 32 dead, and for the ship to eventually be towed away.
“For the families of the victims to move beyond this, there is some hope that they will be able to find some of these remains,” Cruise says.
The Concordia's submerged side suffered significant damage during the 20 months it bore the weight of the Concordia on the reef, and Monday's operation to right it put stresses on that flank as well. Exterior balconies were mangled and sections of the exterior looked warped.
“It doesn't elicit a great deal of confidence in cruise ships to be going by and seeing this wreckage,” Cruise says. “So those that live nearby on the Tuscan coast are very happy to see it upright."
The damage must be repaired to stabilize the ship so it can withstand the winter and be towed away and turned into scrap sometime in 2014.
“They brought in a number of workers from over 26 different countries to come in and be part of this,” Cruise says. “They are taking what was really a point of disgrace for Italy, which really affected their image in some ways, and now they can kind of turn that around to some degree and be proud of this really significant engineering feat.”
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