Or is it just an accident that can be cleaned up?
Agence France Press reports,
Fears rose of an environmental disaster from a wrecked cruise ship in an area of outstanding natural beauty in Italy on Monday as hopes faded of finding any more survivors on board.
“This is an ecological timebomb,” Sergio Ortelli, mayor of the picturesque Tuscan island where the luxury Costa Concordia liner hit underwater rocks and keeled over on Friday with more than 4,200 passengers and crew aboard.
Ortelli said there were 2,380 tons of fuel on the ship, which had just started its cruise when it ran aground. “This is the second worry, after human lives,” he said, as crews began putting down anti-spill booms.
“I hope that the fuel can be taken off the ship soon and maybe the ship can be removed too because it is hampering navigation,” he said.
“We are monitoring constantly but there has been no spill so far,” he added…
Environment Minister Corrado Clini meanwhile said that the environmental risk has been “our nightmare.”
“The vessel has reservoirs full of fuel, it is a heavy diesel which could sink down to the seabed, that would be a disaster,” he said.
In a worst-case scenario, the fuel could “leak into the sea, contaminating an exceptional coastline and affecting marine and bird life,” he warned.
“We are ready to intervene if there is a spill,” Clini said. “As soon as possible, the fuel will be removed from the vessel. But we have to take into account the precarious state of the ship.”
Costa Crociere head Pier Luigi Foschi said Monday the company had commissioned several firms to look at the best way to salvage the vessel.
He said the first priorities were pumping out the fuel and plugging the gash in the hull.
Foschi said he understood fears of an environmental disaster from leaking fuel oil, but stressed that there had been no signs of this.