GIGLIO ISLAND, Italy -- Authorities have given the final go-ahead for a daring attempt Monday to pull upright the crippled Costa Concordia cruise liner from its side in the waters off Tuscany, a make-or-break engineering feat that has never before been tried in such conditions.
The ship capsized there 20 months ago, and Italy's national Civil Protection agency waited until sea and weather conditions were forecast for dawn Monday before giving the OK to try to right it. In a statement Sunday, the Civil Protection agency said the sea and wind conditions "fall within the range of operating feasibility."
The Concordia struck a reef near Giglio Island the night of Jan. 13, 2012, took on water through a 70-meter (230-foot) gash in its hull and capsized just outside the harbor. Thirty-two of the 4,200 passengers and crew members died.
The bodies of two of the dead have never been recovered, and may lie beneath the wreckage.
Never before have engineers tried to right such a huge ship so close to land. If the operation succeeds, the Concordia will be towed away and broken up for scrap.
Salvage experts had originally hoped to right the 115,000-ton vessel last spring, but heavy storms hampered work. Crews have raced to get the Concordia upright before another winter season batters the ship against its rocky perch -- damage that would increase the chance that it couldn't be towed away in one piece.