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Oil spreads from Costa Concordia cruise ship

A thin layer of oil has begun to spread from the Costa Concordia, after efforts to remove 500,000 gallons of oil were suspended.

Costa Concordia search called off 31 01 2012Enlarge
People watch salvage and recovery efforts aboard the Costa Concordia. The underwater search of the vessel has been called off. (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

Oil has started to spread from the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship, adding to fears that an environmental disaster could occur, the Associated Press reported.

Authorities are currently trying to assess how serious and extensive the spread of the thin film of oil was, the AP reported. It appeared to be spreading from the stern of the ship, although a crack between two large glass panels that formed part of the roof of the ship also appeared. According to the Italian Port Authority, the leak consisted of a thin film of hydrocarbons.

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Francesca Maffini, spokeswoman for Civil Protection, which is in charge of the rescue effort, said it wasn’t clear how serious the situation is yet, the AP reported.

The Costa Concordia contains about 500,000 gallons of heavy fuel and other pollutants, which could heavily damage the ocean it lays in, home to dolphins, whales and other marine life, the AP reported.

Read more at GlobalPost: Costa Concordia death toll reaches 17

Barriers had been placed around the ship, in order to protect the surrounding water from oils that could spread. But on Wednesday the barriers were lifted by winds, which allowed the oils to spread.

The Costa Concordia hit rocks and rolled onto its side off the Tuscan coast on Jan. 13. Officials have said it could take up to 10 months to remove the wrecked Italian ship due to bad weather causing rough water, the Daily Telegraph reported. On Sunday, an effort to start operations that remove the 500,000 gallons of fuel and the search for more missing people was called off. Fifteen people still remain missing.

On Saturday a 17th body was found by rescue divers in the ship, the BBC reported. The woman’s body was identified as Siglinde Stump, a German woman, the AP reported.

Read more at GlobalPost: Bad weather forces rescue teams to suspend Costa Concordia search

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/italy/120201/oil-spreads-costa-concordia-cruise-ship