Search teams have found six bodies and three survivors since the capsizing
5:03pm UK, Monday January 16, 2012
A state of emergency has been declared after an unidentified liquid began leaking from the capsized cruise liner Costa Concordia.
Protective barriers have been put in place around the ship where 16 people are still missing, the Italian environment minister said.
Anti-spill booms were already being deployed to minimise the risk if there were a leak.
The search for the missing earlier resumed following a suspension after the ship moved, according to a fire brigade spokesman.
The vessel hit an underwater reef off the coast of Tuscany on Friday, tearing a 70-metre hole in the hull and causing it to tip onto its side.
The Costa Concordia has been balanced on the rocks since the accident but the weather earlier took a turn for the worse causing it to begin to slip, fire brigade officials said.
However, as the weather improved, officials said their search could resume.
Uncertainty over the stability of the vessel means search operations will now only be conducted in daylight hours, fire service spokesman Luca Cari added.
Speaking of the fears the incident could turn into an environmental disaster, Giglio mayor Sergio Ortelli said: “This is an ecological timebomb.
“I hope that the fuel can be taken off the ship soon and maybe the ship can be removed too because it is hampering navigation.”
Filippo Marini, head of the local coastguard press office, said: “There is maximum attention on the environmental problem. We are all working together to resolve this as soon as possible.”
In an earlier news conference, the boss of the company which owns the liner said its main focus now was the environmental concerns, as well as the welfare of the passengers and crew.
Costa Cruises chairman and chief executive Pier Luigi Foschi said there were 500,000 gallons of fuel on board, in 17 separate tanks.
On Monday morning, search teams found a sixth body inside the Costa Concordia.
The male passenger was found wearing an orange life jacket, of the type given to passengers rather than crew.
Fire official Cari told state radio that the victim was a man, found in a corridor in the part of the ship that was still above water.
Two 29-year-old South Korean honeymooners and a third survivor – believed to be crew member Marrico Giampetroni – were pulled alive from the semi-submerged vessel on Sunday.