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What Will The Disaster Mean For The Mediterranean?

Costa Concordia Environmental Impact As Italian rescue crews dealt with a major cruise ship wreck Tuesday, the tragedy of missing persons and rising casualties from the Costa Concordia were not their only concerns.The ship, which is foundering within Italy's largest protected marine area, also contains several thousand gallons of heavy fuel oil and diesel.Officials in the area say that a potential fuel spill from the ship "would be a disaster," reports BBC News.The waters and Tuscan Archipelago near the wrecked ship contain rare and important plants and animals, including the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal.So far, no fuel has spilled from the wreck and officials are racing to keep it that way. According to The Guardian, booms have been staged around the wreck and a Dutch salvage firm has been hired to extract the ship's fuel.The salvage team may begin inspecting the ship on Wednesday and, according to The Washington Post, complete the fuel extraction within two to four weeks.The Washington Post reports the salvage company's manager of operations, Kees van Essen, said "The vessel is stable and we feel confident that removal can be done in a fairly rapid way." He added that a salvage operation won't "increase the ...

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‘Get back on ship’, Coast Guard told cruise captain

Schettino was repeatedly refusing to return to the sinking vessel A frantic Coast Guard officer berated the captain of the capsized Costa Concordia as he sat safe in a life raft, refusing to return to his ship and direct the evacuation order."You go on board! Is that clear? Do you hear me?" the Coast Guard officer shouted at Capt. Francesco Schettino."It is an order. Don't make any more excuses. You have declared 'Abandon ship.' Now I am in charge."A damning recording of Coast Guard Capt. Gregorio De Falco shouting at Schettino to return to the ship was posted online Tuesday by Italian newspaper Corriere della Serra. The Coast Guard authenticated the recording.In the radio exchange, Schettino can be heard repeatedly refusing to return to the sinking vessel from a lifeboat to help co-ordinate the frantic evacuation."I am here with the rescue boats. I am here. I am not going anywhere. I am here," he said. "I am here to co-ordinate the rescue.""What are you co-ordinating there? Go on board! Coordinate the rescue from aboard the ship. Are you refusing?" came the response from De Falco."You go on board and then you will tell me how many people there are. Is ...

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Divers retrieve five more bodies from Costa Concordia

Death toll rises to 11 Divers searching for survivors inside a stricken cruise ship off the Italian coast found five more bodies on Tuesday, as prosecutors grilled the arrested captain over his role.The bodies were discovered after the Italian navy used explosives to blow holes in the wreck of the Costa Concordia to help in the hunt for those still missing after Friday's disaster off the Tuscan island of Giglio."Scuba divers found five more bodies in the stern of the ship," Cristiano Pellegrini, a Giglio official, told AFP, but said their identities were not yet known.The death toll has now risen to 11, leaving about two dozen still missing of the 4,200 people on board when the ship went down on Friday,Earlier, officials had said that 12 Germans, six Italians, four French, two Americans, one Hungarian, one Indian and one Peruvian were still unaccounted for. There were also reports of a missing five-year-old Italian girl.The huge Costa Concordia cruise liner hit rocks and pitched over off the picturesque Tuscan island of Giglio on Friday, and survivors have recounted scenes of chaos after the disaster struck.A black box transcript showed Francesco Schettino -- who is reported to have sailed so close ...

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Italy cruise ship Costa Concordia run aground near Giglio

4000 passengers onboard Three people are confirmed dead after a cruise ship carrying more than 4,000 people ran aground off Italy.There were scenes of panic as the Costa Concordia hit a sandbar on Friday evening near the island of Giglio and listed about 20 degrees.Most people reached land by lifeboats but some swam to shore.At least 50 people have not yet been accounted for, Italian officials say, but they caution that the passenger list may not be fully up to date.Coast guard vessels are combing the waters around the ship, while divers are searching the submerged decks.The regional prefect's office said 4,165 out of 4,234 people on board had been accounted for, the Italian news agency Ansa reported.Italian, German, French and British nationals were among the 3,200 passengers on board. There were also 1,000 crew.Three people were confirmed dead, Italian coast guard officials said on Saturday morning - fewer than the six or eight deaths reported by Italian media earlier. Fourteen people were injured.The Costa Concordia was carrying more than 3,200 passengers when it ran aground off the Italian coast Mediterranean cruise The Costa Concordia had sailed earlier on Friday from Civitavecchia port near Rome for a Mediterranean cruise, due ...

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Italy risks environmental disaster if ship fuel leaks

Environmental risk for the island of Giglio is very high! As the Costa Concordia shifted dangerously on Monday, Italy's environment minister raised the prospect of an environmental disaster if the 2,300 tonnes of fuel on the half-submerged cruise ship leaks.The ship's fuel tanks were full, having just left the port of Civitavecchia, north of Rome, for a week-long Mediterranean cruise, when it ran aground on Friday.Rescue workers have recovered six bodies from the vessel and officials say 16 of the 4,200 passengers and crew are missing.The area were the ship capsized, off the island of Giglio, is a natural maritime park noted for its pristine waters, varied marine life and coral. It is known worldwide as an excellent diving site."The environmental risk for the island of Giglio is very, very high," Environment Minister Corrado Clini told reporters in Rome. "The aim is to prevent the fuel leaking out of the ship. We are working to avoid this. It is urgent and time is running out."The 290-metre-long ship is resting on an undersea ledge in 15-20 meters of water but salvage workers fear it could slip down the slope, which falls away sharply into much deeper water.The ship shifted on its ...

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Maritime safety- Commission requests Italy to comply with new safety rules for passenger ships

Safety rules and standards for passenger ships The European Commission has asked Italy to adopt national legislation implementing the new European safety rules and standards for passenger ships. The Commission's request takes the form of a reasoned opinion under EU infringement procedures.If Italy fails to inform the Commission within two months of the measures it has taken to ensure full compliance with EU law, the Commission could refer the case to the European Court of Justice.The EU rulesIn 2010 the EU adopted a new directive pertaining to safety rules and standards for passenger ships. The primary aim of this directive was to provide an up-to-date European legislative framework which would take into account the latest measures agreed upon in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). These include, among many other technical requirements, a ban onmaterials containing asbestos, the obligation to install emergency lighting to allow passengers to exit safely and the requirement to provide adequate life jackets for larger individuals.The reason for today's actionItaly has failed to notify the Commission of the measures taken to enforce the new Directive on safety rules and standards for passenger ships although required to do so by 29 June 2011.The practical effect of non-implementationThe objective ...

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Russia and Italy to start anti-terrorism naval drills

To ensure the ship's safety during the voyage and visits to foreign ports Russia and Italy began on Monday the Ionex-2011 naval exercises in the Ionian Sea with the focus on joint antiterrorism and anti-piracy operations.Russia is represented by the Smetlivy patrol ship and the Epron rescue boat from the Black Sea Fleet, while Italy has sent the Espero and the Aviere frigates.The Smetlivy is carrying a naval infantry unit to take part in the drills and to ensure the ship's safety during the voyage and visits to foreign ports.The Ionex joint exercises in the Mediterannean are held on a regular basis to enhance interoperability between the Russian and Italian navies.In 2010 the Ionex exercises off Sicily involved Russia's patrol ship Ladny and the rescue tugboat Shakhter and the Italian frigates Artiglieri and Aliseo.Source: RIA Novosti

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Italy to use military to guard merchant ships against pirates

Decision after M/V Montecristo, an Italian cargo ship, was attacked by pirates Italy is to station military forces on its merchant vessels to guard against attacks by Somali pirates, shipping sources said on Tuesday, the day after another of its ships was attacked off the anarchic east African country.Many ships already carry private security contractors to try to prevent hijacks, but deployment of military forces on merchant vessels would mark a clear escalation in measures to combat piracy, which costs the world economy billions of dollars each year.The sources said Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa would sign an agreement later on Tuesday with the confederation of Italian ship owners to put military guards on board vessels in the huge area of the Indian Ocean at risk from Somali pirates, who have hijacked several Italian ships.The Montecristo, an Italian cargo ship, was attacked by five men in a small boat off the coast of Somalia on Monday, its owner the D'Alesio Group said. A pirate told Reuters by phone that it was under their control. The ship had 23 crew from Italy, India and Ukraine.Somali pirates, operating from the shores of the lawless state in the Horn of Africa, have raked ...

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Italy steps up its measures against piracy

Using armed private guards or soldiers for protection Italy stepped up its measures against piracy, clearing commercial ships sailing through dangerous waters to use armed private guards or soldiers for protection.The ministry of defence was authorised to "agree with private shipowners means of protecting ships flying the Italian flag," the government's official gazette said."Soldiers or private security guards will be embarked on request and at shipowners' cost," it said.The measures were intended for "international maritime areas where there is a risk of piracy," it added.Pirates have seized several Italian boats over the last few years.On April 21 pirates captured an Italian cargo ship headed for Iran with 21 crew members on board, including six Italians, in the Arabian Sea near Oman.In February, pirates wielding rocket-launchers seized a large Italian oil tanker with a crew of five Italians and 17 Indians east of the Yemeni island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean.After that attack, Italy's shipowners association Confitarma, called for ships to have armed guards aboard.The use of barbed wire or water cannons was "no longer enough" against "aggressive and dangerous" pirates, they argued.Source: AFP

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Italian shipowners should help to clean up the country’ s seas

Protecting the marine environment has become a major priority Chairmen of Namepa and Cymepa say Italian shipowners should help to clean up the countrys seas.Protecting the marine environment has become a major priority for the maritime industry during the last decade, with ballast water management being a key focus for regulators and ship operators.What is being done, though, about general litter in the worlds seas and oceans?Over the past few years, environmentalists have drawn attention to the ever-growing plastic continent found in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, with the shipping industry allegedly a major contributor.Yet most people will never see this man-made mass of rubbish floating in the sea and truly realise its significance.

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