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Plans to pump fuel from Concordia suspended as another body found

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-01-28

Salvage crews have suspended plans to pump thousands of tonnes of fuel from the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise liner due to severe weather conditions on Saturday as searchers discovered another body, bringing the official death toll to 17.

AFP - Heavy weather forced salvage crews to suspend pumping thousands of tonnes of fuel from the wrecked Costa Concordia liner Saturday, though recovery operations continued and divers found another body.

With waves reaching more than one metre (over three feet) in height, technicians from the Dutch salvage company Smit and Italy's Neri said it was too dangerous to start siphoning off an estimated 2,380 tonnes of fuel from the tanks of the Concordia, which ran aground January 13.

Salvage workers on Friday attached valves to six of the stricken vessel's 23 tanks as part of the first phase of operations. It was unclear how long the delay would last, with weather forecasts showing worsening conditions Sunday.

Once they start, pumping operations are expected to take several weeks.

Many in the region are concerned about fuel leaks from the ship into the area's popular recreation waters, saying a spill would be environmentally disastrous in one of Europe's biggest marine parks.

Despite rough weather, recovery work continued and divers pulled the body of another victim from a submerged deck on the stricken ship.

She was not immediately identified. Italy's civil defence organisation said the woman was discovered on deck six in the submerged part of the vessel.

The Costa Concordia ran aground on rocks with some 4,200 people aboard and is lying on its side off the Tuscan island of Giglio. Fifteen people remain missing.

Authorities on Saturday said another woman, whose identity had not previously been released, was German passenger Inge Schall.

Of the 17 bodies found, 15 have now been identified. They are: five Germans, four French people, three Italians, a Hungarian, a Spaniard and a Peruvian.

On Friday, six Costa Concordia passengers sued parent company Carnival Cruise Lines in Miami, demanding compensation totaling $460 million. It's one of what is likely to be a slew of lawsuits against the cruise firm, and several consumer associations have already announced their intention to bring a class action case.

Italian negotiators have said some 3,000 survivors of the ship wreck will receive 11,000 euros ($14,400) each plus expenses as compensation.

Date created : 2012-01-28

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