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Removing the Costa Concordia wreckage from the waters of Giglio, Italy could take longer than expected, after operations were halted for three hours due to an overnight storm.

The roughly $800 million operation to upright the 114,500-ton vessel commenced yesterday and was expected to take 12-hours to complete.

Although the ship is still on its side, salvage teams have managed to shift the ship entirely off the rock shelf to reveal to dirty water that has stained the outside of the ship, ABC News reported.

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Dirty water stains the ship’s white hull.

Costa Cruises technical team leader Franco Porcellachia said the ship was reacting well to the shift.

He said: “It’s rotating in a uniform fashion, which is what we expected, but it’s a pleasure to see it confirmed.”

The process is expected to continue at a slow place until the ship makes contact with the platforms.

Another update on the situation is expected at 4.00am local time.

The ship has been laying half underwater since January last year, when it crashed into rocks off the Italian island.

Thirty-two lives were lost during the incident and two bodies are yet to recovered.

Click here for live footage of the salvage.