Nightly News   |  September 15, 2013

How to raise a cruise ship

Salvage crews have worked 24 hours a day for a year in preparation of raising the Costa Concordia cruise ship. Nearly two years after the vessel’s crash, how successful will the attempt be? NBC’s Michelle Kosinski reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> tomorrow in italy, all that attempt one of the great feats of engineering in recent years when salvage crews try to move a disabled cruise ship more than three football fields long from its side to an upright position . the costa concordia " has been slumped on the coast 20 months ago. michelle kosinski is there tonight. michelle?

>> reporter: hi, lester. this was the biggest cruise shipwreck ever. now it's the largest salvage operation of its kind. tonight crews are tightening 36 cables that will pull from the land around the bottom of the hull to the other side of the ship. just after dawn, they suspect to start rolling this thing upright. over the past year, the concordia wreck has become the base of an engineering marvel. the steep reef under water has been leveled with cement, ten-story floats installed around the outside, cables extended down around the ship's belly to be pulled from machines on land. if that sounds like a tall order for a mega vessel that carry in order than 4,000 people, itty's head of civil protection rolled out the probability of this actually working. said 100%. making this happen, the american salvage company titan.

>> you know what? we've -- this has been the most engineered salvage ever accomplished, ever done. and, you know, i'm also very confident. but i'm not going to put a percentage on it. there is always a risk of failure, structural failure . but it's probably going to be localized kinds of failures and not global kinds of failures, failures that would be catastrophic.

>> reporter: that slow nervous roll will happen at about ten feet an hour, taking possibly 12 hours. a small scale practice went well, moving the ship a few centimeters off the rocks.

>> tomorrow will be the day.

>> reporter: the mayor himself helped rescue people that night after the crash that claimed 32 lives, including two americans. two victims have never been found. once the ship is upright and stable, that search can continue. and next week, the trial begins of captain frances chess schettino. you have to ask what is the worst case scenario here. salvagers say because of all the shoring up they've done and built in a 100% redundancy in terms of the load the operation can handle, they don't think there is any chance the hull will break apart. to them it's maybe some cables will malfunction, causing delays. lester?