Two more bodies have been uncovered aboard the Costa Concordia according to officials on Monday. I am sure family and personal injury lawyers representing the missing are anxious to learn who was recovered. The bodies of two women were reportedly located near the ship’s Internet café and were discovered thanks to new holes that navy frogmen blew into the hull of the ship. Explosives were used to create holes in the Costa Concordia at depths of up to 59 feet below water, granting access to the ship’s hard-to-reach fourth and fifth levels.
“Two more bodies, two women, were found,” said Franco Gabrielli, the supervisor of the Costa Concordia search and rescue operations. “We cannot tell what nationality they were. They haven’t been extracted [from the ship yet].” Gabrielli explained that investigators would use DNA matching to try to identify the victims. Relatives of the missing have now been waiting for word for 10 days.
17 people are still unaccounted for in the Costa Concordia wreckage, spanning across many nationalities and age groups. Investigators suspect that at least one stowaway may have perished in the accident as well.
Gabrielli assured reporters that the search for the missing would continue “until all parts of the vessel that can be inspected have been checked out.”
The grisly discovery of the additional casualties comes just as officials were getting ready to pump fuel from the 114,500-ton Costa Concordia. The operation comes in response to environmentalists’ concerns that a fuel leak could have catastrophic effects on a marine sanctuary located nearby which is home to dolphins, whales and other marine life.
The sanctuary is the largest of its kind in Europe. The Costa Concordia shipwreck has already contaminated marine life in its’ immediate vicinity, although nearby waters still appear to be untouched.
There are 2,380 tons of fuel in the wreck of the Costa Concordia. The plan is to use a process called hot-tapping, in which fuel is replaced by water so as not to displace the ship through weight fluctuations. The fuel will be pumped to a nearby vessel.
To avoid spills, three lines of booms will be placed around the ship during the pumping operation.
It will take approximately 28 days to pump all of the fuel out, and officials are eager to get started. “We have given authorization for the pumping to begin,” said Bart Huizing of Smit Salvage. “We are ready to go. We are ready to start working. If possible tomorrow.” Officials assured the public that extracting the fuel would not interfere with rescue operations.
Yet another environmental concern is being caused by the non-fuel contents of the ship, such as furniture and decomposing food products. Workers are trying to clear out the clutter so the area does not get too messy; some water in the ship is already cloudy thanks to debris.
Francesco Schettino, the Costa Concordia’s captain, is mainly shouldering the blame for the accident. The Italian native just tested negative for drugs. His criminal defense lawyer says that his client, while not entirely innocent, was not fully responsible for the accident. “The investigations are in full flow also to determine possible other responsibilities of third parties who could at least have had a role” in causing the shipwreck, Bruno Leporatti told Italian news outlets.