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Bad weather forces rescue teams to suspend Costa Concordia search

Italian rescue teams today suspended their search of the Costa Concordia, after the half-submerged cruise liner shifted in bad weather off the coast of Tuscany.

Clone of Cruise ship 6Enlarge
The Costa Concordia, off the island of Giglio. (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

Italian rescue teams today suspended their search of the Costa Concordia, after the half-submerged cruise liner shifted in bad weather off the coast of Tuscany, the Independent reported.

Eleven bodies have so far been recovered, with another 20 passengers and crew still missing – and hopes fading of finding any more survivors.

More on GlobalPost: As Costa Concordia shifts on rocks, Italy warns of environmental disaster (VIDEO)

There are concerns the Costa Concordia, which ran aground off the island of Giglio late Friday night, may slip from its resting place on a ledge of rocks and sink even further, the BBC reported.

Fire department spokesman Luca Cari said:

"Instruments indicated the ship had moved, we are in the process of evaluating if it has found a new resting point to allow us to resume. For the moment we cannot even go near it."

Authorities fear the ship may rupture and spill half a million gallons of fuel into the Mediterranean, and salvage crews are reportedly set to begin pumping oil off the wreck – but must wait until the rescue effort is declared over.

A team from Dutch salvage company SMIT is on standby to begin drilling towards the ship’s 17 fuel tanks – a task which could take several weeks, the BBC reported.

More on GlobalPost: Costa Concordia captain accused of abandoning ship (AUDIO)

Meanwhile the Costa Concordia’s captain, Francesco Schettino, who is accused of causing the crash by steering off course, today returned home to the Amalfi coast under house arrest, Agence France Presse reported.

Schettino also stands accused of leaving the vessel while passengers remained stranded on board and faces prison on charges of multiple manslaughter and abandoning ship.

In a telephone recording released by the Corriere della Sera newspaper, a port authority official can be heard repeatedly telling Schettino to get back on board the ship, the BBC reported.

But Schettino, who says he left the ship to coordinate evacuation efforts from the shore, appeared to refuse.
 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/italy/120118/italian-rescue-teams-suspend-search-costa-concordia