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

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    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.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora