Dutch group: 3 weeks to pump out fuel

2012-01-17 15:43
The Hague - Pumping the fuel out of the capsized cruise ship off the coast of Italy will take at least three weeks, the head of the Dutch company in charge of the operation has said.

"That's going to take at least three weeks," Peter Berdowski said in an interview on Dutch television on Monday night when asked how much time his company Royal Boskalis Westminster needed to pump out the fuel on board the stricken Costa Concordia.

When pumping out diesel oil, he added: "Every hour counts because if something happens and that spills and there is damage, then you have a very big ecological catastrophe."

Royal Boskalis' subsidiary Smit Salvage will carry out the job of pumping the 2 380 tons of fuel that are in the ship's hold.

About 20 employees of the company have arrived at Giglio island off whose coast the 17-deck Italian liner ran aground late on Friday with more than 4 000 people on board. At least six people have died in the disaster.

Italian authorities are worried about pollution in the pristine marine nature reserve of the Tuscan archipelago if the ship's fuel should spill into the sea.

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