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Costa Concordia: Countdown To Ship's Salvage
Final preparations are being made to raise the Costa Concordia from the rocks off the Tuscan island of Giglio, almost two years after the liner capsized and killed at least 30 people.
An international team of hundreds of engineers and mechanics have been working on the site for over a year to complete the project - one of the biggest marine salvage operations in history.
Known as parbuckling, the operation to raise the 114,000-tonne ship, which is the length of three football pitches, will be carried out on Monday, weather permitting.
Salvage master Nicholas Sloane, who will be calling the shots on the big day, says most of the preparation work ahead of the parbuckling has now been completed.
"We are doing the final testing at the moment, all the pre-tension tests have been completed and are successful, now it is just the ballistic control systems for the buoyancy tanks and that will be finished late tonight, early tomorrow morning," he said.
"The vessels are doing the final underwater inspections and putting the sand on the platforms as a soft resting place. So by this time tomorrow we will just be in the waiting game and look forward to Monday."
Inflatable pollution barriers have been put up around the wreck and along the shoreline to try and hold back any debris or oil that will spew from the innards of the Concordia when she is hauled upright.
Mr Sloane said one of the most critical times of the parbuckling would be the initial pulling of the Concordia away from the rocks.
"We are not sure about the actual weight and how much the rocks are going to hold onto her. So that is a critical point as when we start up we will watch all the accelerometers and we want to increase the tension very slowly until she comes off the rocks," he said.
The task to remove the wreck intact by 2014 has been given jointly to salvage teams from the US firm Titan Salvage and Italian company Micoperi. The 600 million euro budget to complete the project is expected to rise.