Advertisement

We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

The bow of the capsized ship AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito
Costa Concordia

Seventeenth body found underwater in Costa Concordia

Meanwhile, a fuel pumping operation scheduled to begin today has been set back by bad weather.

ROUGH SEAS OFF Italy’s Tuscan coast forced a delay in the planned start of the operation to remove a half-million gallons of fuel from the grounded Costa Concordia today.

Recovery operations continued, however, and yielded a 17th body. The woman who wasn’t wearing a life jacket was found by divers on the submerged sixth floor deck, civil protection officials said.

The Concordia ran aground on January 13 off the port of the island of Giglio after the captain deviated from his planned route and gashed the hull of the ship on a reef. Some 4,200 passengers and crew endured a panicked evacuation after the abandon ship alarm didn’t sound until the ship had capsized so much that some life boats couldn’t be lowered.

Some 16 people remain unaccounted for and are presumed dead. The body discovered Saturday has not yet been identified.

The removal of the fuel aboard the Concordia is a key concern since the seas around Giglio form part of a protected marine sanctuary and are a favorite destination for scuba divers. So far, no leakage has been detected.

Dutch shipwreck salvage firm Smit has been contracted by the Concordia’s owner Costa Crociere SpA, a unit of Miami-based Carnival Corporation, to remove the fuel. Smit’s divers have made the necessary preparations to begin pumping out fuel from six outer tanks that hold more than half of the 500,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil that are aboard the ship.

The rest of the fuel is contained in inner tanks that are harder to access.

So far, divers have drilled into four of the six outer tanks and fixed valves on them: one on top, one on bottom. Hoses will then be attached to the valves and as the oil — which must be warmed to make it less gooey — is sucked out of the upper hose, sea water is pumped in to fill the vacuum via the lower hose.

Smit spokesman Martijn Schuttevaer told reporters Saturday that the pumping operation may not begin now until midweek since the poor weather is forecast at least through Tuesday. Officials don’t want to risk the possibility that a battering of the hoses caused by rough seas might lead to leakage.

On Saturday, the choppy waters partially dislodged Smit’s barge that was hitched to the Concordia’s hull and had served as a staging platform for the fuel removal operation. Smit brought it back into port, where it will stay until the weather improves, Schuttevaer said.

The Concordia’s captain, Francesco Schettino, remains under house arrest, accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning a ship before its passengers had evacuated. He has admitted he took the ship on “tourist navigation” to bring it close to Giglio but said the reef he hit wasn’t marked on his nautical charts.

More: Costa Concordia company offers compensation to passengers>

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Author
Associated Foreign Press
Your Voice
Readers Comments
1
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.