Costa Concordia ready to be lifted off its side

    11:32 AM, Aug 22, 2013   |    comments
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    UNDATED (CNN) -- It's a massive feat of maritime engineering. The challenge: to remove the remains of what was once the luxury cruise ship the Costa Concordia from the coast of the picturesque Italian island of Giglio.

    It's been 19 months since the luxury cruise liner the Costa Concordia ran aground off the west coast of Italy, killing 32 of the people on board.

    Now there is news that the crippled cruise ship will finally be lifted from its side in September.

    An American and Italian company are working around the clock to prepare the infamous wreckage for its journey from the Tuscan island of Giglio and avoid environmental disaster.

    Engineers say it's a naval salvage operation like no other in history. Nick Sloane says, "Teams swelled up to 500 plus people with the welders joining us, so we have a hundred divers in the water every day, we have 55 coded welders on the project 24 hours a day every day."

    The plan to remove the Costa Concordia began with steel platforms built under the water. Thirty-six cables will help hoist the ship upright and a series of enormous flotation devices attached to the ship's sides will help the cruise liner float away to a nearby port hopefully all in one piece. Sloane says, "Round about the 20th August, all the grouting and the mattress should be underneath the bedding of the Concordia."

    What makes the maneuver so risky- engineers behind the project say they only have one shot to make the deteriorating Costa Concordia float again.

    Successful, it could be another eight to ten months before the ship is towed to a mainland port to be dismantled.

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