Few other countries could have righted Costa Concordia
Salvage master Nick Sloane comments on parbuckling operation17 September, 12:04
The ship that once transported 4000 people had lurched semi-submerged on its side off the Tuscan island of Giglio since January 2012 when 32 people died in one of the worse maritime disasters in Italian history.
''The whole team is very proud of what we have done,'' commented Sloane, who works for the Italian-US consortium Micoperi-Titan, which is in charge of the unprecedented salvage operation - and the world's largest.
Sloane, a South African, said there was much damage to the 114,500 tonne cruiser, which needs to be catalogued.
Sloane was greeted like a star, welcomed with hugs and applause by Giglio residents and swarmed by journalists and cameras, after commanding the operation from a floating control-room a few metres from the ship's carcass.
''I didn't expect people to react this way,'' Sloane said.
''I am relieved and proud, like my team.
''And I am a little tired. I'm going to have a beer and then go to sleep. I'm sending a kiss to my wife,'' he added.
The operation to set the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship upright was successfully completed at around 4:00 local time on Tuesday.