Costa Concordia: the bodies of two French victims have been identified by relatives
The Italian rescue teams have decided to resume their work aboard the wrecked cruise ship, Costa Concordia, off the coast of Tuscany.
Operations were suspended on Wednesday as Costa Concordia shifted its position. More than 20 people are still missing.
Salvage operators are standing by to start pumping fuel from the ship’s tanks to avoid a potential environmental disaster.
Costa Concordia cruise ship ran aground on Friday with some 4,200 people on board, tourists and crew. At least 11 people were killed.
The bodies of two French victims have been identified by relatives, the French embassy in Rome confirms, AFP news agency reports.
Rescue workers have now almost completed their investigation of the fourth level of the ship.
Earlier, coastguard spokesman Filippo Marini said the ship had been stabilized.
“The tests during the night were positive and we have divers going down now,” Filippo Marini told reporters, AFP news agency says.
“We will then use the micro-explosives to open more holes. They will enter inside the ship and search for more people.”
A specialist team from a Dutch salvage company is preparing to pump more than 2,300 tons of fuel from the ship’s 17 tanks.
Mike Lacey, of the International Salvage Union, says the operation could take some time.
“[The fuel] is spread around 17 tanks. The quantities in each tank will obviously be different, and the people there involved in the operation of removing the oil are experts at this sort of thing – and they know exactly what to do,” Mike Lacey.
“They’ll be drilling into each tank, and pumping the oil out and putting it into a barge or a coastal tanker or even a tug.
“These things are all very weather-dependent. If the weather turns against them, then they won’t be able to work. So I understand they expect to take a week to two weeks to get all the fuel off.”
Some 300 Philippine crew members of the Costa Concordia have arrived back in Manila.
They looked visibly shaken by their ordeal.
Some crew members said they did their job well, making sure their passengers were safe, but found the captain and officers had already left the ship by the time the “abandon ship” message was given. They said they felt angry and let down.
“It’s… horrible because it is supposed to be the captain to [be] the last one to stay on the ship if there is a collision like this and not the passengers and the crew members,” said Andrew Bacud, a steward on the ship.
On Wednesday, the first of the 11 confirmed dead to be identified was a 38-year-old Hungarian violinist, Sandor Feher.
His body was found in the wreck and identified by his mother.
The ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, has yesterday admitted to making a navigational error, Italian media reported.
Francesco Schettino told investigators he had “ordered the turn too late” as the luxury ship sailed close to an island, according to a leaked interrogation transcript.
Captain Francesco Schettino is under house arrest on suspicion of multiple manslaughter. Prosecutors have also accused him of fleeing the ship before evacuation was complete.
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