Italy: Oil pumping from cruise ship to begin

Salvage experts can begin pumping fuel from a capsized cruise ship as early as tomorrow to avert a possible environmental catastrophe, Italian officials said.

Rome: Salvage experts can begin pumping fuel
from a capsized cruise ship as early as tomorrow to avert a possible environmental catastrophe and the ship is stable enough that search efforts for the missing can continue,
Italian officials said.

The decision to carry out both operations in tandem was
made after instrument readings determined that the Costa Concordia was not at risk of sliding into deeper waters, Franco Gabrielli, chief of the national civil protection agency, told reporters today on the island of Giglio.
"The ship is stable. ... There is no problem or danger that it is about to drop onto much lower seabed," Gabrielli
said.

The Concordia rammed a reef January 13 on the tiny Tuscan
island and capsized a few hours later just outside Giglio`s
port as it carried 4,200 passengers and crew on a
Mediterranean cruise.

Taking advantage of calm seas, divers today found the bodies of two women near the ship`s Internet cafe, raising to
15 the number of confirmed dead.
There are 17 people still unaccounted for, but Gabrielli has said an unregistered Hungarian woman might have been aboard ship. The woman`s relatives have told Italian authorities they haven`t heard from her since she called them
to say she was aboard the ship.

The ship`s Italian captain, Francesco Schettino is under
house arrest near Naples as prosecutor`s investigate him for
suspected manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning his
vessel while some passengers and crew were still aboard.

PTI

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