Posted at 12:42 PM on January 17, 2012
by Paul Tosto
Even as the human death toll from the Costa Concordia cruise ship wreck continues to rise, officials are increasingly worried about the potential environmental damage.
Carnival, the Costa Concordia's owner, has hired a salvage firm to remove the 2,400 tons of fuel on board the ship.
The ship capsized within a 30,000-square-mile zone that is designated a sanctuary for marine mammals, and Italian government officials and environmentalists are worried that rough seas may further damage the ship and cause a fuel leak. Company officials said that so far all of the ship's 17 tanks are intact.Mike Lacey, secretary general of the International Salvage Union, a trade group, said the salvage workers' task would be a little easier because most of the fuel is diesel, which is relatively light and will not have to be warmed before pumping. "It's not as bad as heavy fuel, but it can still make a mess," he said.