Saturday, January 21, 2012

Costa Concordia Poses Pollution Threat To Italian Waters

Costa Concordia
Italy declared a state of emergency in the area around the shipwrecked Costa Concordia on Friday. Officials from Dutch marine contractor Smit Salvage have also been examining it.  Fast winds and rough waters could further damage the Concordia and rupture the fuel tanks.  Because any spill would be close to shore, there would be little time for the diesel to break down and degrade.

The ship also was stocked with foodstuffs, paints, metals and solvents. The shipwreck is the equivalent to dumping a self-contained "city" into Giglio's crystalline waters. The state of emergency declared Friday is intended to ease operations around an accident area by allowing state funds to be disbursed more easily to local authorities.

‪Workers from Smit Salvage signed a contract with Concordia's operator Costa Crociere, a unit of Carnival Corporation, to pump fuel from the ship's 17 tanks. In addition to the heavy fuel, some 200 tons of lighter diesel will also have to be removed. Pumping is expected to take around four weeks.

‪Giglio, the island, is a popular holiday spot for Italians and foreigners. Most of its 500-odd residents make their living from tourism.  (WSJ, 1/21/2012)

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