News / Europe

Cruise Ship Search Off Italy Finds 12th Body, Hard Disk

Navy teams conducting rescue efforts are seen January 21, 2012, near the Costa Concordia cruise ship which ran aground off the west coast of Italy at Giglio island.
Navy teams conducting rescue efforts are seen January 21, 2012, near the Costa Concordia cruise ship which ran aground off the west coast of Italy at Giglio island.

Italian media say police divers searching the Costa Concordia cruise liner, which ran aground earlier this month off the Italian island of Giglio, have found a hard disk containing data of the voyage, as another body was pulled from the wreckage, bringing the death toll to 12.

Media reports say the disk retrieved late Saturday may shed light on the role Captain Francesco Schettino played in the disaster.  Italian prosecutors are investigating Schettino's role or lack thereof in the rescue operations the night of the disaster

Divers also recovered the body of a woman in a life vest found in the corridor of a submerged section of the 114,000-ton ship.  

Rescue efforts are continuing for 20 people still missing.  Officials say chances are slim for finding survivors.  Authorities say they are also working to remove oil from the vessel to prevent an environmental disaster.

Italy's civil protection agency took command at the site Saturday after the government declared a state of emergency on the small island.  The agency's head, Franco Gabrielli, said the environment has already been affected.

"I would like this to be clear: this is not an event where nothing happened," Gabrielli said. "This is a story where a 300-meter-long ship carrying 4,000 people on board, plus all these people needed is in the sea. So the contamination of the environment, gentlemen, has already occurred."

Gabrielli added 2,400 tons of fuel is inside the shipwreck and needs to be removed.

The vessel, which is owned by the U.S.-based Carnival Corporation, ran into a rocky reef, which damaged its hull, and caused the vessel to keel over on its side.  Carnival Corporation said it would conduct a comprehensive audit of all of its cruise lines to review safety standards and procedures following the Concordia accident.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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