GIGLIO – The search of the Costa Concordia cruise ship has been suspended after the capsized vessel slipped, the Italian coast guard said, according to BBC News. Officials are hoping to begin salvage work soon, including pumping oil off the wreck, as hopes fade of finding any more survivors.
Twenty-three people are missing, and 11 confirmed dead, after the huge ship crashed into rocks on Friday. There are fears the vessel might slip into deeper water off the Tuscan coast.
“Instruments indicated the ship had moved. We are in the process of evaluating if it has found a new resting point to allow us to resume. For the moment, we cannot even go near it,” fire department spokesman Luca Cari said.
Along with the salvage workers – who will begin operations once rescue efforts have been declared over – a specialist team from Dutch salvage company SMIT is to prepare to pump more than 2,300 tonnes of fuel from the ship’s 17 tanks. The firm says this could take several weeks.
The captain of the Italian ship, Francesco Schettino is under house arrest, accused of causing the crash. Prosecutors have also accused him of fleeing the Costa Concordia while passengers were still stranded. A recording of a call between him and a port official after the crash appears to support this, though Schettino denies the claims.