Five more bodies have been found in the half-submerged wreck of the Costa Concordia cruise liner, bringing the number of confirmed dead to 30, Italy’s Civil Protection agency said on Thursday.
The giant vessel capsized off the Tuscan island of Giglio after hitting rocks on Jan. 13. Two people are still unaccounted
A spokeswoman for the agency said all the bodies were discovered at the rear of the vessel. It would probably be
several days before they could be removed as it would be a complicated operation using robots, she said.
Prosecutors have accused captain Francesco Schettino of causing the accident by bringing the multi-storey Costa
Concordia, which was carrying more than 4,200 passengers and crew, too close to the shore.
The ship’s owner, Costa Cruises, said salvagers would complete operations to pump more than 2,300 tonnes of fuel out
of the capsized vessel on Friday, removing the threat of an oil spill in the surrounding marine reserve.
“The fuel problem is resolved,” the head of the Civil Protection Agency Franco Gabrielli told a news conference on the
island of Giglio.
Dutch salvage firm SMIT was hired by Costa Cruises to handle the fuel pumping, in collaboration with Italian firm Tito Neri.
Costa Cruises said in a statement that the operation to remove the fuel, which began on Feb. 12, was carried out by 20
vessels and an international team of 100 experts.
It said Smit and Tito Neri would now monitor safety in the area around the ship in a “caretaking” phase, expected to last
up to two months, before the removal of the vessel began.
Six working plans have been submitted for the lucrative contract to remove the wreck, which is expected to take up to a
year. Costa Cruises said the best plan would be selected and announced in April.