It has lain like a great white whale in the crystal clear waters off the Italian island of Giglio for nine months, but a new, crucial phase to remove the capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship is about to swing into action.A multinational team of more than 450 specialists, including 60 scuba divers, has almost completed the stabilization of the 950-foot long vessel, anchoring it to the rocky sea shore with four massive cables looped beneath its belly.
Thin film of oil spread from the Costa Concordia cruise ship as waves battered the wreckage off Italy’s coast Wednesday, adding to fears of an environmental disaster in the area’s sensitive, pristine waters. Authorities were trying to assess how serious and extensive the spread was but said that so far it didn’t appear alarming. Italian authorities also identified a German woman, Siglinde Stumpf, as being among those killed in the Jan. 13 capsizing of the vessel. Stumpf is the 17th person whose body has been identified. Fifteen others are listed as missing.
Stone fortresses and watchtowers that centuries ago stood guard against marauding pirates loom above pristine waters threatened by a modern peril: fuel trapped within the capsized Costa Concordia luxury liner. A half-million gallons (2,400 tons) of heavy fuel oil is in danger of leaking out and polluting some of the Mediterranean's most unspoiled sea, where dolphins chase playfully after sailboats and fishermen's catches are so prized that wholesalers come from across Italy to scoop up cod, lobster, scampi, swordfish and other delicacies.
Environmental campaign group Greenpeace has warned that if oil leaks from the stricken cruise liner Costa Concordia it could cause an environmental disaster, threatening marine life including birds, whales and sharks. At least six people died when the huge ship hit rocks and slid onto its side. The vessel -- containing hundreds of tons of fuel oil -- is now partially submerged off the Italian island of Giglio, which lies inside the Pelagos Sanctuary for Mediterranean Marine Mammals.