Concordia Cruise Ship
January 16, 2012 by staff
Concordia Cruise Ship, Italian Environment Minister Corrado Clini says he will declare a state of emergency over the cruise liner Costa Concordia capsized off Italy’s west coast, which would free up state funds to help prevent an environmental disaster.
Clini said some liquid material had started to leak from the ship, but it was unclear if it was fuel. He said protective barriers were being put in place.
“Monitoring is continuing to take the decisions aimed at avoiding environmental risks,” Clini told a news conference.
Italian rescue officials say a passenger’s body has been found in the wreckage of the Costa Concordia, raising to six the number of confirmed dead in the disaster. Sixteen people remain unaccounted-for.
Fire official Luca Cari told state radio that the victim was a man, found in a corridor in the part of the ship that was still above water. He said the victim was wearing the orange-coloured life vest of passengers.
The number of unaccounted-for was increased because two Sicilian women, originally listed among the evacuated, have not contacted relatives. Cari said a search of all the ship, including a divers’ inspection of the submerged areas, continues, but the sea is becoming rough.
Still, there were glimmers of hope: The rescue of three survivors – a young South Korean couple on their honeymoon and a crew member brought to shore in a dramatic airlift some 36 hours after the grounding late Friday.
Meanwhile, attention focused on the captain, who was spotted by Coast Guard officials and passengers allegedly fleeing the scene even as the chaotic and terrifying evacuation was under way.
The ship’s Italian owner, a subsidiary of Carnival Cruise lines, issued a statement early today (NZ time) saying there appeared to be “significant human error” on the part of the captain, Francesco Schettino, “which resulted in these grave consequences.”
Authorities were holding Schettino for suspected manslaughter and a prosecutor confirmed overnight (NZ time) they were also investigating allegations the captain abandoned the stricken liner before all the passengers had escaped. According to the Italian navigation code, a captain who abandons a ship in danger can face up to 12 years in prison.
A French couple who boarded the Concordia in Marseille, Ophelie Gondelle and David Du Pays, told the Associated Press they saw the captain in a lifeboat, covered by a blanket, well before all the passengers were off the ship.
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