Ship captain quizzed as search for 29 missing continues

2012-01-17 14:45

Prosecutors are questioning the captain of the capsized Costa Concordia cruise liner, as rescue operations for the 29 people still listed as missing continued, with divers using controlled explosions to remove obstacles in their path.

Captain Francesco Schettino faces charges of multiple manslaughter and of abandoning the ship. Judges must now decide whether to confirm his arrest. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Italian media have quoted Grosseto prosecutor Francesco Verusio as saying that the order to evacuate the ship was given at 10.58 pm (21H58 GMT) on Friday, more than an hour after the ship hit a rock near the Italian island of Giglio.

The owners of the ship have blamed its captain for changing the course of the liner, which had 4 200 people on board, and steering it dangerously close to Giglio, possibly to salute a colleague and tourists gathered by the water.

The Ansa news agency reported that Schettino was answering questions by prosecutors in the city of Grosseto.

Meanwhile, divers used a fifth explosion to remove obstacles and debris as they made their way into the partially sunken ship to search for the missing.

“We want to take advantage of the good weather to try to make as much progress as possible,” said coast guard spokesperson Filippo Marini.

According to Italian officials, a total of 29 people are still unaccounted for. They are: six Italians, 14 Germans, four French, two US nationals, and one each from Hungary, India and Peru.

Six people have been confirmed dead since the vessel ran aground and partially capsised in the Mediterranean Sea, about 150 metres off Giglio island near the coast of Tuscany.

According to meteorologists, the weather is expected to remain good until Thursday, when rough waters and strong winds are expected.

Rescue operations had to be temporarily interrupted yesterday, when the ship shifted slightly from its resting place as a result of rough waters.

Environment group WWF has called for new rules aimed at avoiding a repeat of the tragedy, which has taken place in a sanctuary for whales and dolphins.

Environment Minister Corrado Clini said no fuel had been seen flowing into the sea from the wreck, but added that it represented a danger to the environment and the fuel must be quickly pumped off.

About 2 300 tons of fuel were on board the ship, which is lying on its side in shallow water layer and Nick Rigillo.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.