Hope fades for Concordia survivors
Giglio Island - Rescue workers searching the site of the Italian cruise wreck for missing people said on Thursday that the time had come to accept that there was no chance of finding survivors.
"We have gradually to accept the idea that in those conditions there is no more hope of survival," said Italy's civil protection agency head, Franco Gabrielli, who is running operations at the site of the Costa Concordia.
Rescue workers have found 16 people who were killed after the cruise liner hit rocks off the coast of Tuscany on January 13. Thirteen bodies have been identified so far and 16 people are still officially missing.
Gabrielli said that teams on three ships were also scouring the sea bed for bodies of people who may have been trapped under the cruise liner as it toppled over.
ARPAT, the Tuscan agency for environmental protection, said on Thursday that there was no longer concern over a leak of surfactants - substances present in detergents - from the wreck, as workers prepare to syphon off the ship's oil.
Tests on Wednesday had shown levels close to those found in industrial ports.
"It seems to have been a limited phenomenon. By now there is no longer a problem and the six control tests carried out are all negative," said Marcello Massa Ferri, an ARPAT representative who spoke at a daily press conference.
The liner, beached on rocks off the idyllic island, contains 2 400 tons of fuel as well as toxic liquids, cleaning products and chlorine for four swimming pools, all of which could leak and cause an environmental disaster.