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Italy's luxury liner floats for first time since 2012 shipwreck

Published on Jul 14, 2014 7:07 PM

GIGLIO ISLAND, Italy (AFP) - Italy's ill-fated Costa Concordia cruise ship floated for the first time on Monday since it crashed in 2012, its rust-coloured hull emerging from the waves off the Tuscan island of Giglio as an unprecedented salvage operation began.

"The ship is floating and is well balanced. We're extremely pleased so far," Franco Porcellacchia, the chief engineer of the project, told reporters as the wrecked vessel - the length of three football fields - inched upwards.

The 114,500-tonne vessel rose around two metres off the artificial platform on which it has rested since it was righted in September. It was then towed slightly away from the coastline for the re-floating to continue.

Children in swimming costumes eating ice-cream pointed from the shore as water cascaded spectacularly out of the tanks attached to the ship like giant armbands to float the wreck.

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