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Salvage Crews to Upright Wrecked Costa Concordia

The capsized cruise liner Costa Concordia lies surrounded by cranes outside Giglio harbor, Italy, July 17, 2013.
Salvage workers are preparing to begin an effort to upright the wrecked cruise ship Costa Concordia, which ran aground 20 months ago off the coast of Italy.

The ship has been sitting on its side in the waters near Giglio Island since January 2012 following an accident that killed 32 of the 4,200 people on board.

Crews were scheduled to begin before dawn but officials said storms overnight would delay the start of the operation by a few hours.

The workers will use cables and the weight of water tanks attached to one side of the ship to tilt it upright.

The 290-meter-long ship will rest of platforms built into the seabed, with water tanks helping provide stability as it remains in place until next year. Those tanks will then be emptied, letting the ship float again so that it can move to a shipyard to be scrapped.

The captain of the Costa Concordia, Francesco Schettino, is currently on trial. Prosecutors say he caused the accident by steering too close to shore and then abandoned the ship before most of those on board were accounted for.

Schettino has said he fell overboard when the listing ship suddenly slipped on the rocks, and his lawyers say he kept the situation from being worse by steering the ship into shallower waters after a reef tore a 70-meter gash in the hull.

Four crew members and an employee of the cruise company Costa Crociere were sentenced to prison in July for their roles in the accident.