Lifting the Costa Concordia

(YouTube link)

The Costa Concordia cruise ship has been lying on its side, partially submerged off the Italian coast, since it ran aground in January 2012. Finally, a salvage crew began bringing it upright yesterday. The process took 19 hours and was completed this morning. This time-lapse video shows it in a mere minute. What's still inside? Just about everything that was there 20 months ago.

In the weeks after the accident, the divers called the inside of the ship a "toxic stew" of spilled oil, rotting food and floating tableware. There were five massive restaurants on the ship -- each one in operation when the ship crashed at 9:42 p.m. on January 13, 2013, spilling tables of buffet food into the water. More than a dozen kitchens and freezers had enough food to feed the 4,200 passengers and crew for a week, plus extra supplies that all cruise ships carry in case of emergencies and delays. Many of the freezers burst and their contents were gobbled up by sea life and the colony of sea gulls that has multiplied on the island since the disaster.

Fishermen off Giglio say that the fish have changed, too. They are much larger and harder to catch after gorging on the ship's offerings. The freezers that have not burst under the water pressure are still locked with their rotting thawed contents sealed inside. Fridges too, filled with milk, cheese, eggs and vegetables, have been closed tight since the disaster. One has to only imagine leaving a home freezer -- a fraction of the size of the industrial freezers used by cruise ships -- unplugged for 20 months to get an idea of the type of rancid mess trapped inside.

No one has been allowed inside the ship because it is considered a crime scene -32 people died in the wreck. The plan is for the passenger's belongings to be returned to them eventually. Link -via the Atlantic Wire

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