With all hopes of finding any more survivors of the Costa Concordia disaster all but gone, attention is turning to helping those who made it alive. Talks have opened between consumer organisations and Costa Cruises, the ship’s operator.
The passengers’ representatives want initial payments made as soon as possible.
Furio Truzzi of the Assoutenti consumers association said: “We are expecting – and we have requested – that the company follows what we think would be a common sense approach and defines rapid procedures, so that the shipwrecked passengers don’t have to pays costs and are reimbursed for all the damage they have suffered.”
Rescuers have been going through the partially submerged vessel cabin by cabin, but are not holding out for a miracle. Other experts, tasked with preventing an environmental disaster, are preparing to start pumping oil from the Concordia’s tanks as early as Saturday.
The cruise liner is still embedded on the rocks off Italy’s Giglio island on which it crashed, but remains unstable.
One regional environmental protection officer said that although there was no sign of pollution now, his colleagues would be keeping a close eye on the area for some time. “We need to cross-check our initial monitoring with more long-term monitoring,” he said.
Sixteen people died in the tragedy, a further 16 are missing. Captain Francesco Schettino, who steered too close to the shore, is accused of multiple manslaughter.