October 30, 2020

Grounded ship shifts overnight, rescue ops halted

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Rescuers work at the cruise ship Costa Concordia keeled over on its side in the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012. The $450 million Costa Concordia was carrying more than 4,200 passengers and crew when it slammed into well-charted rocks off the Tuscan island of Giglio. Eleven people have been confirmed dead and 21 others are still missing. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

ROME (AP) — The cruise ship grounded off Tuscany shifted again on its rocky perch Friday, forcing the supension of diving search operations for the 21 people still missing and raising concerns about the stability of the ship’s resting place.

It was not clear if the slight movements registered by sensors placed on board the Costa Concordia were just vibrations as the ship settles on the rocks off the Tuscan island of Giglio or if the massive ocean liner is slowly slipping off the reef.

The sensors detected that the ship’s bow was moving about 15 millimetres an hour and the stern about 7 millimetres an hour, said Nicola Casagli of the University of Florence, who has been called in by Italian authorities to monitor the ship’s stability.

The Concordia’s movements are being watched since any significant shift could be dangerous for divers trying to locate those still missing after the Concordia ran aground Jan. 13. An additional fear is that movement could damage tanks holding a half-million gallons of fuel oil and lead to leaks.

The sea floor drops off sharply a few metres (yards) from where the ship is resting, and Italy’s environment minister has warned it risks sinking altogether. Storms forecast for later Friday have added to concerns.

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