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Costa Concordia wreckage gives up body of 16th victim as environmental disaster feared

As salvage workers prepared today to begin extracting a half-million gallons of fuel from the shipwreck, the body of an elderly woman, still clad in a life jacket, was recovered.

Costaconcordia2012124Enlarge
Technicians work near the stricken cruise liner Costa Concordia, seen lying aground yesterday in front of the Isola del Giglio, or “Giglio island” after hitting underwater rocks on Jan 13. (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

Divers today retrieved the body of an elderly woman from the wreckage of the stricken cruise liner Costa Concordia, the 16th victim to removed from the ship which ran aground over a week ago off the Tuscan coast in a catastrophic accident, Reuters reported.

Salvage crews were also preparing to extract more than 2,300 of tons of diesel oil from the wrecked, 950-foot vessel’s 17 storage tanks, according to the news agency, which said the woman’s body was wearing a life-jacket and was discovered during the salvage preparations.

A significant leakage could result in an environmental disaster. The New York Times also reported today that salvage and rescue workers had reported the first signs of a “very thin film” of contaminant oozing from the wreckage.

A Italian navy officer said samples were undergoing analysis.

More from GlobalPost: Bad weather forces rescue teams to suspend Costa Concordia search

At least 16 more people are missing. Two victims were discovered Monday but have not yet to be identified. Only nine bodies have been so far, according to Reuters.

The news came as Reuters reported that the International Union of Marine Insurance was calling for tighter standards for safety procedures and crew training to prevent a recurrence of the Costa Concordia disaster, which Reuters said was potentially the most expensive marine insurance loss ever recorded.

Analysts say the disaster may cost the industry up to $1 billion, potentially outstripping the cost of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, according to Reuters.

More from GlobalPost: Two more victims found in Costa Concordia wreck as fuel pumping is set to begin

According to The Times, Italian prosecutors have suggested that others besides the captain, Francesco Schettino, may face criminal charges as a result of their conduct during the disaster.

“The terrible confusion aboard reveals an incredible carelessness when applying security norms,” Beniamino Deidda, Tuscany’s chief prosecutor, was quoted as telling reporters. “Not all the security deficiencies can be blamed on the conduct of the captain. For this reason, the investigation can not exclude any front.”
 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/italy/120124/costa-concordia-wreckage-gives-body-16th-victim-environmen