Unprecedented refloating operation of sunken Italian ship begins in Italy 

Rome:  The wrecked Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia has been successfully raised from the under-sea platform two years after the ship sank, salvage workers said Monday.

This is the biggest ever maritime salvage operations in history, BBC reported.

The salvage effort involves some 500 workers from 26 nationalities and requires considerable security measures, Xinhua reported.

The vessel was already able “to partially float in an autonomous way” about one metre off the platforms.

The work was proceeding positively.

The Costa Concordia is 290 metres long and weighs 114,500 tonne.

The entire refloating operation at Giglio island is expected to last six to seven days, but the first phase should be completed in six to eight hours, the rescue team said.

According to authorities, this is also the most risky stage.

“The first phase of the operation is the most dangerous one, because the vessel has to be detached from the platforms and this is a very complex work,” chief of Italy’s Civil Protection Franco Gabrielli explained.

The Costa Concordia capsized in January 2012 off the tiny Tuscany island of Giglio. The luxury cruise liner hit rocks during the night with more than 4,200 people on board.

Thirty-two people drowned in their attempt to reach land. A Spanish diver also died earlier this year while working on a deck of the ship.

The vessel’s captain, Francesco Schettino, is currently on trial for manslaughter, causing the shipwreck, and abandoning ship during evacuation.