Costa Cruises Vessel Runs Aground Off Italian Coast
The Costa Concordia hit rocks off the coast of Italy’s Giglio Island on Friday and, after taking on water, eventually fell onto its side. At the time of the incident, 1,000 crew and about 3,200 passengers were on board. As of Tuesday morning, the death toll rose to seven, dozens had been injured and there are still 29 people missing - two Americans, four French, six Italians and ten Germans.
On Saturday, authorities arrested Captain Francesco Schettino on possible charges of abandoning ship, which he denies. However, his denial was obviously a lie after a recording was released on Tuesday to reveal that he argued with the coast guard about returning to the ship so they could find out how many people needed rescuing and the number of casualties.
The captain also faces charges of manslaughter and causing a shipwreck. Costa Cruises, the ship’s owner and operator, has revealed that Schettino took the ship off its pre-programmed route without authorisation. The company also said that he didn’t follow the emergency procedures it has in place. However, the crew were defended by the line as acting bravely and fast to help evacuate the vessel under such challenging circumstances.
Meanwhile, on Monday night, salvage teams were fighting to prevent an ecological disaster after the Costa Concordia started to move from the rocks it has been laying on and has begun leaking a liquid. The Italian government has declared a state of emergency in fear that the vessel could slide off the rock and into 300ft of water. Then whatever is leaking from the ship, which could be half a million gallons of fuel, could spill into the pristine Mediterranean area. The nation’s environment minister said they don’t know for sure if the liquid is fuel, but they have put protective barriers in place.