State of emergency for Italy’s waters as fuel leaks from capsized cruise
Italy’s Minister of Environment, Corrado Clini, has declared a state of emergency on Monday following concerns that fuel may have started to leak from the capsized cruise liner, Costa Concordia.
Costa Concordia overturned off the Tuscan coast on 13 January near the island of Giglio, which is part of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park. The ship also contained 198 drums of hazardous fluids that are now missing.
“The environmental risk for the island of Giglio is very high. The goal is to prevent the fuel from the ship coming out: we’re working on that,” said Clini, quoted on ENS. “The action is urgent, we hurry.”
The Ministry of Environment has placed absorbent containment booms around the ship to minimise the damage.
Smit, a salvage company, has been contracted to remove fuel from the ship once search and recovery of missing passengers have been completed. It is estimated that more than two weeks are needed to remove roughly 2,400 tons of fuel liquid. However, there is growing concern that heavy fuel may leak from the wreck before they could be removed.
“The area affected by the possible environmental risk depends on the currents,” Clini explained. “Surely the island of Giglio, probably the whole archipelago, perhaps the coast. It depends on how the sea moves.”