The Costa Concordia, on the night of January 13, 2012, struck a reef near Giglio Island, took on water through a 70-meter (230-foot) gash in its hull and then capsized just outside the harbour.
Thirty-two of the 4,200 passengers and crew members died. The bodies of two of the dead have never been found. They may lie beneath the wreckage.
Also trapped inside are 10 tonnes of fish, almost 2.5 tonnes of cheese, almost six tonnes of ice cream in tubs, 10,800kg pasta, 900kg of onions, 2,000 plus pots of jam, almost eight tonnes of raw beef, 11,000 eggs, 2346 hot dog buns, 370kg of rabbit meat and more than 3785 litres of milk. There are also oils, lubricants, paint and insecticide. There is fear that the waters around may be contaminated if things go wrong.
The ship has not been moved until now. The head of the operation, Nick Sloane, told AFP news agency that it was “now or never” for the Costa Concordia, because the hull was gradually weakening and might not survive another winter.
Engineers will try to roll the ship up using cables. There are 450 people involved, including 113 divers working around the clock. The salvage project has so far cost more than $US 800m which is being paid for by insurance money.