August 19, 2013
Two salvage companies are responsible for raising the ship, which has been lying half-submerged in the waters off of the Italian island of Giglio since it hit a rock January 2012.
According to CBS News, final preparations for the ship's refloat will be completed this week. This includes installing blister tank technology, which provides stabilization to the ship's bow so it doesn't break apart while it's being raised. In addition to the blister tanks, 11 other tanks have been attached to provide buoyancy to help the refloat process.
Once the refloat process has begun it is expected to take eight to 10 hours. Authorities are hoping to find the bodies of the two remaining missing passengers after the ship is refloated. It will be another eight to 10 months before the actual removal of the wreck begins.
Until then there is a risk of environmental contamination from rotting food, furniture, bedding and more, a BBC article said. So far, salvagers have been able to contain the situation, but the longer the ship remains in the water, the worse the situation gets.
Costa Concordia hit a rock off the coast of the Italian island January 13, 2012. Several hours later, the ship capsized; 32 passengers and crew perished in the tragedy.
The trial of the ship's captain is due to resume September 23.
--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor