Shifting Halts Rescue Operations on Italian Cruise Ship

Costa Concordia ran into a reef Friday night and capsized into the port area of Giglio.

 

 
 
 

FRANCES D'EMILIO and NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press | | Monday, January 16, 2012

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Rescue Operations at Cruise Ship Capsizing

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ROME (AP) — Rescue crews say a rescue operation on a cruise ship that ran aground and capsized off Tuscany has been suspended after the Costa Concordia shifted a few inches (centimeters) in rough seas.

Fears are mounting that if the ship shifts significantly, the 500,000 gallons of fuel may begin to leak into the pristine waters around the island of Giglio.

Fire department spokesman Luca Cari said the ship had shifted a few centimeters vertically and horizontally Monday because of the seas. He said an underwater search for 16 people still unaccounted for from the 4,200 on board was suspended immediately.

Six people were killed when the ship ran aground Friday. Costa has said the captain, who has been jailed, made an unauthorized deviation from the ship's planned course.

EARLIER

ROME (AP) — The captain of the cruise ship that capsized off Tuscany made an unauthorized, unapproved deviation from its programmed course, a "human error" that led to the grounding of the vessel, the chief executive of the ship's Italian owner said Monday. At least six people died in the incident.

The comments from Costa Crociere chairman and CEO Pier Luigi Foschi ramped up the pressure on the captain, who already is under investigation by authorities for suspected manslaughter and as well as allegations he abandoned ship before the passengers were safe, violating the Italian navigation code.

The Costa Concordia ran into a reef Friday night and capsized into the port area of Giglio, sparking a frantic evacuation of the 4,200 people onboard. Coast Guard officials have expressed concern that the ship might slip off the rocks where it is currently perched.

On Monday, the rescue operation was called off as weather worsened and a sixth body was found. Foschi said it wasn't because the ship had shifted but because divers heard "sounds" coming from inside and didn't know what was causing them. Sixteen people remain missing.

Foschi said the company, which is owned by the world's largest cruiseline, Carnival Corp., stood by the captain, Francesco Schettino, and would provide him with legal assistance. But he said the company disassociated itself from his behavior.

Costa ships have their routes programmed, and alarms go off when they deviate, the chief executive said in a press conference.

"This route was put in correctly. The fact that it left from this course is due solely to a maneuver by the commander that was unapproved, unauthorized and unknown to Costa," he said.

Schettino has insisted he didn't leave the liner early, telling Mediaset television that he had done everything he could to save lives.

"We were the last ones to leave the ship," he said.

Foschi said the liner had passed all safety and technical tests in its 2011 evaluation. He added that the company's main concern was the safety and well-being of the passengers and crew, as well as to ensure fuel doesn't leak out from the upended hull into the pristine waters off the island of Giglio.

There were 500,000 gallons of fuel on board, in 17 separate tanks, Foschi said.

"There are no signs of pollution" to date, but officials are on high alert in case the ship suddenly shifts due to worsening weather conditions, Foschi said. Sensors have been put in place to track the movements of the ship.

Questions have been swirling about why the ship had navigated so close to the dangerous reefs and rocks that jut off Giglio's eastern coast, amid suspicions the captain may have ventured too close while carrying out a maneuver to entertain tourists on the island.

Residents of Giglio said they had never seen the Costa come so close to the dangerous "Le Scole" reef area.



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Rescue Operations at Cruise Ship Capsizing

Gallery 1

Rescue Operations at Cruise Ship Capsizing

An Italian firefighter helicopter lifts up a person from the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia which ran aground the off tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012. Firefighters worked Sunday to rescue a crew member with a suspected broken leg from the overturned hulk of the luxury cruise liner Costa Concordia, 36 hours after it ran aground. More than 40 people are still unaccounted-for. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)


Gallery 1

Rescue Operations at Cruise Ship Capsizing

Firefighters on a dinghy look at a rock emerging from the side of the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia, the day after it ran aground off the Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012. The Italian Coast Guard says its divers have found two more bodies aboard the Costa Concordia. The discovery of the bodies brings to five the number of known dead after the luxury ship ran aground with some 4,200 people aboard on Friday night. (AP Photo/Andrea Sinibaldi, Lapresse)


Gallery 1

Rescue Operations at Cruise Ship Capsizing

An Italian firefighter helicopter airlifts a rescued passenger from the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia which ran aground off the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012. Firefighters worked Sunday to rescue a crew member with a suspected broken leg from the overturned hulk of the luxury cruise liner Costa Concordia, 36 hours after it ran aground. More than 40 people are still unaccounted-for. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)


Gallery 1

Rescue Operations at Cruise Ship Capsizing

Italian firefighters scuba divers approach the cruise ship Costa Concordia leaning on its side, the day after it ran aground off the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012. A helicopter on Sunday airlifted a third survivor from the capsized hulk of a luxury cruise ship 36 hours after it ran aground off the Italian coast, as prosecutors confirmed they were investigating the captain for manslaughter charges and abandoning the ship. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)


Gallery 1

Rescue Operations at Cruise Ship Capsizing

Italian firefighters' scuba divers approach the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia which ran aground a day earlier off the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012. The incident sent water pouring in through a 160-foot (50-meter) gash in the hull and forced the evacuation of some 4,200 people from the listing vessel early Saturday, the Italian coast guard said. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)


Gallery 1

Rescue Operations at Cruise Ship Capsizing

Italian Navy scuba divers prepare to search the wreck of the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia that ran aground in the tiny Tuscan island of Isola del Giglio, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012. The Costa Concordia cruise ship ran aground off the coast of Tuscany, sending water pouring in through a 160-foot (50-meter) gash in the hull and forcing the evacuation of some 4,200 people from the listing vessel early Saturday, the Italian coast guard said. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)


Gallery 1

Rescue Operations at Cruise Ship Capsizing

Investigators approach the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia which leans on its starboard side after running aground in the tiny Tuscan island of Isola del Giglio, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012. The Costa Concordia cruise ship ran aground off the coast of Tuscany, sending water pouring in through a 160-foot (50-meter) gash in the hull and forcing the evacuation of some 4,200 people from the listing vessel early Saturday, the Italian coast guard said. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)


Gallery 1

Rescue Operations at Cruise Ship Capsizing

Italian firefighters conduct search operations on the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia that ran aground the tiny Tuscan island of Isola del Giglio, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012. The Costa Concordia cruise ship ran aground off the coast of Tuscany, sending water pouring in through a 160-foot (50-meter) gash in the hull and forcing the evacuation of some 4,200 people from the listing vessel early Saturday, the Italian coast guard said. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)


Gallery 1

Rescue Operations at Cruise Ship Capsizing

A passenger from South Korea, center, walks with Italian Firefighters after being rescued from the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia which ran aground the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012. The luxury cruise ship ran aground off the coast of Tuscany, sending water pouring in through a 160-foot (50-meter) gash in the hull and forcing the evacuation of some 4,200 people from the listing vessel early Saturday, the Italian coast guard said. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)


Gallery 1

Rescue Operations at Cruise Ship Capsizing

A rescue dinghy hangs from the side of the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia leaning on its side after ran aground off the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012. The Costa Concordia cruise ship ran aground off the coast of Tuscany, sending water pouring in through a 160-foot (50-meter) gash in the hull and forcing the evacuation of some 4,200 people from the listing vessel early Saturday, the Italian coast guard said. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)


Gallery 1

Rescue Operations as Cruise Ship Capsizing

Italian firefighters' scuba divers approach the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia which ran aground off the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012. The Costa Concordia cruise ship ran aground off the coast of Tuscany, sending water pouring in through a 160-foot (50-meter) gash in the hull and forcing the evacuation of some 4,200 people from the listing vessel early Saturday, the Italian coast guard said. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)


Gallery 1

Rescue Operations as Cruise Ship Capsizing

Italian firefighters' scuba divers approach the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia which ran aground off the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012. The Costa Concordia cruise ship ran aground off the coast of Tuscany, sending water pouring in through a 160-foot (50-meter) gash in the hull and forcing the evacuation of some 4,200 people from the listing vessel early Saturday, the Italian coast guard said. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)


Gallery 1

Rescue Operations as Cruise Ship Capsizing

A passenger from South Korea, top left, disembarks from an Italian Firefighter boat after being rescued from the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia which ran aground the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012. The luxury cruise ship ran aground off the coast of Tuscany, sending water pouring in through a 160-foot (50-meter) gash in the hull and forcing the evacuation of some 4,200 people from the listing vessel early Saturday, the Italian coast guard said. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)



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