But he seemed confident: "She was strong enough to come up like this, she's strong enough to be towed."
The starboard side of the ship, which was raised 65 degrees in the operation, must be stabilized to enable crews to attach empty tanks on the side that will later be used to help float the vessel away. It must also be made strong enough to withstand the winter storm season, when high seas and gusts will likely buffet the 115,000-ton, 300-meter (1,000-foot) long liner.
After receiving cheers, embraces and a kiss from his wife on shore, Sloane said he wanted to get some sleep, a beer "and maybe a barbeque tomorrow."
"I think the whole team is proud of what they achieved," he said as he was mobbed by well-wishers and television crews.
Helping the Concordia to weather the winter is an artificial platform on the seabed that was constructed to support the ship's flat keel.
"The ship is resting on its platform," Gabrielli said.
About an hour before the rotation was complete, observers said the boat seemed to suddenly settle down upon its new perch.
Mayor Sergio Ortelli said the island felt a wave of relief as soon as the Concordia was freed from the reef in the initial hours of the operation. But he said there was also the realization that two bodies still have yet to be found, with a fresh search to be launched now.
"While there is happiness today, there is no triumphalism," he told The Associated Press.
The Concordia's captain is on trial for alleged manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the ship during the chaotic and delayed evacuation. Capt. Francesco Schettino claims the reef wasn't on the nautical charts for the liner's weeklong Mediterranean cruise.
Costa is a division of Miami-based Carnival Corp., the world's largest cruise company.