Salvage work on the Costa Concordia is due to start any day and will be the biggest operation of its kind.
Huge cranes and air tanks will be used to refloat the cruise liner.
The work is estimated to cost £190 million and last about a year, said the ship's operator Costa Cruises, owned by Carnival.
The 290-metre-long cruise liner capsized off the Tuscan island of Giglio after hitting rocks on January 13. At least 30 people died and two are still unaccounted for.
Its captain Francesco Schettino faces multiple charges.
"This will be the largest refloat in history but we think it's entirely possible," said Richard Habib, president of the US salvage group which will begin refloating the ship in the next week or so.
The ship will be stabilised to prevent it from shifting down a rocky ledge and plunging into the deep waters of the surrounding marine reserve.
Once salvaged, the ship will be towed to an Italian port and broken up.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012