“Mother nature has been kind. The predicted 20 knot winds have not come,” speaking with the weather service Meteoreporter.com in Italy. “If the winds blow from the north it could be a problem for the position of the La Costa Concordia.”
The Dutch salvage company, Smit contracted to remove the 2,300 tons of fuel and other hazardous materials must hurry before the winds and rough sea cause the crippled La Costa Concordia to slide into deeper water. Once that happens, there is a chance the fuel tanks will rupture. This will endanger one of the most beautiful marine park reserves we have on earth.
Rescuers and divers using explosives to search the part of the ship submerged for the missing, has delayed the savage operation that will need months. Yesterday, they found another woman, bringing the death toll to 12.
Reports are a Hungarian woman’s family is claiming she was on board, but her name was not on the passenger list. Immigrants not registered may have also been on board and among the missing. Franco Gabrielli, Chief of the Civil Protection Agency, today confirms 12 deaths, 8 identified, 4 unidentified, and the agency is updating the list of missing.
Meanwhile, Captain Francesco Schettino remains under house arrest. It has surfaced that a twenty-five-year-old blonde-haired woman, Domnica Cemortan an employee of Costa Concordia off duty, was the guest of Captain Schettino. They have no record of her assigned cabin, but Ms. Cemortan defends Captain Schettino saying; He is a hero. While others state, he was drinking wine and dining with her when the ship’s accident occurred. The results of his drug test have not been revealed.
Italy’s environment minister has warned that if the Costa Concordia tanks break, the thick black fuel would block sunlight vital for marine life in the seabed. Franco Gabrielli, Chief of the Civil Protection states, upon inspection “no leaks” have been found.
Environmentalists warn the sheer weight of the wreckage has likely already damaged a variety of marine life, including endangered sea sponges, and crustaceans and mollusks, even before a drop of fuel leaks. “The longer it stays there, the longer it impedes light from reaching the vegetation,” said Francesco Cinelli, an ecology professor at the University of Pisa in Tuscany, tells The Associated Press.
Arcipelago Toscano is one of the largest impressive and protected European sea marine park reserves. It covers the Giglio, Elba, Montecristo, Capriaia and other small islands in the area. This fascinating natural 150,000-acre sea environment around these islands has affected the vegetable, animal, and human presence for 400 million-years.
The national marine park has been described by Oceana, an international ocean-advocacy group, as an “ecological diamond” a choice by avid divers. The water is so clear you can see 120 feet down. It is a place where seahorses, sperm whales dance atop the sea, and rare Mediterranean monk seals have been seen along the coast. There are seabeds rich in fish, morays, barracudas and giant tunafish, inhabiting these waters. During spring and summer months, dolphins and whale-calves can be seen while scuba diving.
More information can be obtained about this national marine park by visiting Parco Nazionale dell’Arcipelago Toscano.
© 2010 Benita Pagoria