Survivors of Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster remember the dead

Relatives of victims stand on a ferry in front of the capsized cruise liner Costa Concordia outside Giglio harbour Credit: REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Memorials have been unveiled to the 32 people who died in the Costa Concordia cruise ship which ran aground on an island just off the coast of Italy a year ago today.

There was also a Mass held in their honour and a minute's silence marking the exact moment the cruise ship rammed into a reef off the coast of Tuscany.

The day of commemorations began when a section of the rock that tore a 70-metre (230-foot) gash in the ship's hull was returned to the seabed.

A crane mounted on a tug boat lowered the rock beneath the waves. A memorial plaque affixed to its side was all that distinguished it from the rocky coastline of the island of Giglio.

Relatives of the dead threw flowers into the sea and embraced as they watched the ceremony.

Workers drop a stone with a plaque into the sea during a ceremony to commemorate the first anniversary of the Costa Concordia tragedy Credit: Reuters

A minute's silence is scheduled for 9:45pm - the exact time that the cruise ship slammed into a reef near the island of Giglio.

Salvage crew workers stand on a side of the capsized cruise liner Costa Concordia as they pay respects to the deceased Credit: REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Among the people in attendance was Captain Gregorio De Falco of the Italian coast guard, who achieved hero status after his recorded conversations with the ship's captain during the evacuation were made public.

In the recordings, De Falco can clearly be heard scolding Captain Francesco Schettino for abandoning ship while passengers remained on board.

De Falco, who has avoided media appearances since the incident, said he was present because he wanted to "embrace the victims, and the relatives of the victims."

Coastguard officer De Falco at the ceremony to commemorate the first anniversary of the Costa Concordia shipwreck Credit: Reuters

Also present was Kevin Rebello, the brother of a man who died on the Costa Concordia and whose body has not been recovered. He said he is hopeful his sibling's remains will finally be found when the ship is towed away:

The beached Costa Concordia remains on its side and may remain that way until September at the latest.

Franco Gabrielli of Italy's civil protection agency told a press conference on the island:

Four hundred salvage workers have been employed in the removal by a partnership between US salvage giant Titan and Italian salvage company Micoperi.

Senior salvage master at Titan, Nick Sloane, spoke of the task ahead: