In pictures: Salvage crews work round clock to lift Costa Concordia before autumn winds blow in

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

With the news that Captain Francesco Schettino will face trial for manslaughter, new pictures show preparations to right the giant liner before floating it away to be cut up for scrap

Divers, engineers and a small flotilla of specialised salvage vessels are working round the clock to prevent the wreckage of the Costa Concordia liner languishing for a second full winter off the coast of the idyllic Tuscan island of Giglio.

[Click on the image above or HERE to launch the gallery]

It is nearly18 months since Captain Francesco Schettino deviated from the prescribed route to pass close to shore. The cruise ship hit a rock and eventually made a U-turn and headed back to the island's port, capsizing precariously on a sea shelf just outside the harbour.

Of the 4,252 who set sail from Civitavecchia on 13 January 2012, a total of 32 lives were lost and two remain unaccounted for.

Fears of an ecological disaster on the environmentally sensitive coast thankfully came to nothing; the oil and sewage were pumped clear in the first months after the tragedy.

Captain Schettino, who left the ship before all the crew and passengers had been taken ashore, is to be tried for multiple manslaughter, abandoning ship and other charges.

Islanders who were widely praised for helping the rescue and for their response to the disaster have erected a memorial to the victims on the harbour wall and are now looking forward to a return to normality.

It is expected that a lift will be started in August or September before the wreck is floated away to be cut up for scrap on the mainland.

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