News / Europe

    Desperate Cruise Ship Search Suspended

    This picture shows a view of the cruise liner Costa Concordia aground in front of the harbor of the Isola del Giglio (Giglio island), January 18, 2012.
    This picture shows a view of the cruise liner Costa Concordia aground in front of the harbor of the Isola del Giglio (Giglio island), January 18, 2012.

    The wait for news is growing more desperate for relatives of passengers still missing from the cruise ship that ran aground off the northwest Italian coast.

    Rescue workers suspended their search of the Costa Concordia Wednesday after the cruise ship shifted slightly.  Divers who have been trying to search submerged parts of the ship describe difficult conditions, most notably poor visibility.

    Related - Italian Captain Refused Orders to Return to Ship

    Officials say at least 11 people were killed and 20 are still missing when the ship hit rocks late Friday, turning over on its side. Relatives of the missing have been gathering in Porto Santo Stefano hoping to hear their loved ones have been found but many are growing impatient.

    Madeleine Soria Molina's sister was a crew member on the Costa Concordia.  She told reporters, "I'm here to find my sister. I should do everything to find her." She also said time was running out.


    Captain faces manslaughter charges


    The ship's owners blame the accident on errors by the ship's captain, Francesco Schettino.  Schettino is under house arrest.  He faces charges of manslaughter and abandoning ship before all the passengers were rescued.

    Schettino's lawyer defended the captain during a news conference Wednesday, saying his client "never left the scene."  Bruno Leporatti also said contrary to stories in the Italian media, Schettino was "deeply shaken" by the accident.

    A relative of another missing crew member said he is confident Schettino will face justice, but that the charges are of little concern to him.  Kevin Rebello says the main priority for the families is "to look for their family members and to find them and see that they take them home safely."


    Environmental danger


    There are also concerns about the possible environmental damage the ship could cause.  Officials have been making plans to pump out the ship's fuel to prevent it from leaking into the sea.  

    During a news conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron Wednesday, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said authorities are doing what they can to limit any harm to the environment.  He also said, "any such disaster could and should be avoided."

    An audio recording released Tuesday of an angry exchange between the Italian Coast Guard and the captain of the capsized ship reveals that the captain refused orders to get back on his stricken boat.

    Coast Guard Captain Gregory De Falco demanded that Captain Schettino use a ladder to climb back onto the damaged Costa Concordia and report how many people were still on board.  

    But Schettino responded that he was not going anywhere, complaining that it was too dark on the boat. He said he was coordinating the rescue from a lifeboat. A furious Captain De Falco bellowed that he was now in charge and he ordered Schettino back on the boat, warning him that he was "going to pay" for his actions.

    The owners say he steered too close to shore and made decisions during the emergency that did not follow company procedures, which they said are based on international standards.

    Officials say that when the ship hit the rocks, passengers were ordered to put on life jackets and to board life rafts. However, passengers say the ship tilted so sharply and quickly that many lifeboats could not be lowered into the water.

    The $450 million Costa Concordia cruise ship was carrying more than 4,200 passengers when it ran aground.

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

    You May Like

    No More Space Race for US, Rivalry Gives Way to Collaboration

    What began as a struggle for dominance in space between two world powers has changed entirely to one of joint efforts

    Beijing Warns Critics Over South China Sea Dispute

    Official warns critics that the more they challenge China's position regarding disputed territories in one of world’s busiest waterways, the more it will push back

    Move Over Millennials, Here Comes iGeneration

    How the first generation to be born, almost literally, with a smartphone in hand, might change America

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    British Government to Resettle Unaccompanied Child Refugeesi
    X
    Henry Ridgwell
    May 06, 2016 9:24 PM
    After criticism from lawmakers across the political spectrum, the British government has signaled that it will accept thousands of unaccompanied Syrian child refugees who have fled to Europe. It follows a campaign by a group of former Jewish refugees who were given refuge in Britain from Nazi persecution in the 1930s. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video British Government to Resettle Unaccompanied Child Refugees

    After criticism from lawmakers across the political spectrum, the British government has signaled that it will accept thousands of unaccompanied Syrian child refugees who have fled to Europe. It follows a campaign by a group of former Jewish refugees who were given refuge in Britain from Nazi persecution in the 1930s. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Strangers Share Secrets Through Postcards

    Frank Warren owns a million secrets. Strangers from around the world send him postcards with their confessions, their disappointments, and their hopes for the future, all anonymously. He displays his favorites online and in exhibits, and shares them with audiences in sold-out appearances around the globe. As VOA's Julie Taboh reports, what started as a simple social experiment has evolved into a multi-faceted and hugely successful global phenomenon.
    Video

    Video Largest Ground-based Telescope Under Construction

    While NASA's engineers are nearing the final phase of assembling the new James Webb space telescope, scheduled to be deployed in 2018, an international consortium led by the U.S. is laying foundations and building parts for a ground-based telescope, much larger than any other. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020

    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Child Labor in Afghanistan Remains a Problem

    With war still raging in Afghanistan, the country also faces the problem of child labor as families put their school-age children to work to help make ends meet. But, thanks to VOA's Afghan Service, two families whose children had been working in a brick-making factory - to earn their livings and pay off family debts - now have a new lease on life. Zabihullah Ghazi reports.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora