Satellite Planning for potential oil spill in Italy (Giglio Island), January 2012
GIGLIO ISLAND, Italy, Jan 17 2012 (From AFP) - Hopes began to fade for 29 people still unaccounted for from the wreck of a luxury liner off the coast of Italy on Tuesday as a judge questioned the captain over his role in the disaster. As fears rose of an environmental disaster if the ship's tanks filled with 2,380 tons of fuel rupture and leak, Marini said emergency crews had laid down absorbent booms after noticing "an iridescence" in the water. The Costa Concordia late on Friday came to grief off the picturesque island of Giglio in Tuscany -- a marine sanctuary and popular holiday spot. The head of the company that owns the vessel said it had hit a rock as a result of an "inexplicable" error by the captain, arrested on Saturday along with first officer Ciro Ambrosio.
The Costa Concordia was carrying more than 4,200 people when it ran aground shortly after starting a seven-day Mediterranean cruise on its way to Marseille in France and Barcelona in Spain, just as many passengers were having dinner. Island residents have already said the ship was sailing far too close to Giglio and had hit a reef known as the School Rocks, well known to inhabitants. A Dutch company specialising in salvage operations, Smit, was also to begin pumping out the fuel this week. Officials said the ship itself could then be taken off Giglio in an unprecedented operation using massive floating devices. Smit's parent company, Royal Boskalis Westminster, said it would take "at least three weeks" for the fuel to be pumped out of the wreck. Passengers have described confusion on board as the lights went out and how they were at first told it was just an electrical fault -- before the ship lurched sharply on to its side and panic set in.