Search for Missing Resumes Onboard Costa Concordia, SMIT Ready to Remove Oil
The search for 21 missing passengers and crew from onboard the Italian owned cruise ship off the coast of Giglio has resumed Friday evening.
Divers were sent back into the submerged areas of the vessel in hopes of finding the 21 who remain missing.
The search had been called off earlier Friday after the vessel shifted again. The 952-foot ship has been slowly slipping off the reef since she ran aground on it a week ago. Rough seas and winds could push the vessel off the reef completely - dropping it several more meters to the sea floor. Storms are reported for the area today and tomorrow.
Eleven people have been confirmed dead and 21 remain missing. The $450 million cruise ship, owned and operated by Costa Cruise Lines, ran aground on Friday, January 13th after the Captain diverted from the programmed route. Investigators say that Capt. Francesco Schettino admitted he was sailing along Giglio’s coast as a salute to a fellow captain who resides on the island. Capt. Schettino has been placed on house arrest and faces, manslaughter charges as well as charges for shipwreck and abandoning ship.
SMIT Ready to Remove Oil from Concordia
Dutch salvage company SMIT, said Friday that they’re ready to pump the oil off of the Costa Concordia, they’re just waiting for permission from authorities.
Removing the 2,300 tons of oil from onboard the stricken ship is a top priority to avoid an environmental disaster. Residents of Giglio and local environmentalist fear that an environmental disaster might occur in one of Europe’s largest marine sanctuaries.
SMIT says the fuel tanks are in good condition and no oil has leaked. Once operations to remove the fuel begin, the process will take 3 to 4 weeks depending on weather conditions.
SMIT plans to perforate the fuel tanks and allow sea water to rush in, pushing the fuel to out of the tanks. A hose connected to a barge will collect the oil.