Enviros exploit an accident to attack the hated cruise industry.
Italy’s cruise liner tragedy turned into an environmental crisis Monday, as rough seas battering the stricken mega-ship raised fears that fuel might leak into pristine waters off Tuscany that are part of a protected sanctuary for dolphins, porpoises and whales…
Italy’s environmental minister raised the alarm about a potential environmental catastrophe if any of the 500,000 gallons (2,300 tons) of fuel begins to leak into the waters off Giglio, which are popular with scuba divers and form part of the protected Tuscan archipelago.
“At the moment there haven’t been any fuel leaks, but we have to intervene quickly to avoid an environmental disaster,” Corrado Clini told RAI state radio.
Even before the accident there had been mounting calls from environmentalists to restrict passage of large ships in the area.
The ship’s operator, Costa Crociere SpA, has enlisted Smit of Rotterdam, Netherlands, one of the world’s biggest salvagers, to handle the removal of the 1,000-foot (290-meter) cruise liner. A study could come as early as Tuesday on how to extract the fuel safely.
Smit has a long track record of dealing with wrecks and leaks, including refloating grounded bulk carriers and securing drilling platforms in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. A spokesman for Smit did not immediately return calls seeking comment on the Concordia salvage.
The Italian cruise operator said Capt. Francesco Schettino intentionally strayed from the ship’s authorized course into waters too close to a perilous reef, causing it to crash late Friday off the tiny island of Giglio and capsize…
If the dolphins and pristine waters survived World War II, they’re likley going to survive the odd cruise ship wreck.