Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fuel to Be Removed From Stricken Cruise Ship

Isola del Giglio English: Giglio Island, is an Italian island and comune situated in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off the coast of Tuscany, and is part of the Province of Grosseto. The island is one of seven that form the Tuscan Archipelago, lying within the Arcipelago Toscano National Park. Giglio means "lily" in Italian, and though the name would appear consistent with the insignia of Medici Florence, it derives from Aegilium, "Goat Island", a Latin transliteration of the Greek word for "little goat" (Aig├Żllion).

Geography
The island is separated by a 16 km (9.9 mi) stretch of sea from the nearest point of the mainland, the promontory of Monte Argentario. Mainly mountainous, it consists almost entirely of granite, culminating in the Poggio della Pagana (496 m (1,627 ft)). 90% of its surface is covered by Mediterranean vegetation, alternating with large pine forests and numerous vineyards which allow the production of the local "Ansonaco" wine. The coast is 27 km (17 mi) long, made up of rocks, smooth cliffs and several bays: Arenella, Cannelle, Caldane and Campese, the biggest one with its small village of the same name.

The municipality is composed of the islands of Giglio and Giannutri. Three principal settlements are located on the main island:

* Giglio Porto (G. Harbour) is located on the eastern coastal side and hosts the port. It is divided into the quarters of Chiesa, Moletto and Saraceno.
* Giglio Castello (G. Castle) is located upon a hill between the two other localities and is characterized by the majestic walls of a fortress. It is divided into the quarters of Casamatta, Centro, Cisterna and Rocca.
* Giglio Campese is located on the north-western coastal side and is a modern sea resort.

Main sights
The island houses the remains of a Roman villa of Domitius Ahenobarbus (1st-2nd century), in the area of Giglio Porto (Giglio port). No traces of the once existing Temple of Diana can be seen now. The church of San Pietro Apostolo in Giglio Castello (Giglio castle) has an ivory crucifix attributed to the sculptor Giambologna.

The island is also the site of an Etruscan shipwreck dating back to the early Iron age, c. 600 BC. The cargo of the ship included copper and lead ingots, iron spits, amphorae and a Corinthian helmet. Even a wooden writing tablet with stylus was preserved. The finds are almost completely lost now.
Fuel to Be Removed From Stricken Cruise Ship
By GAIA PIANIGIANI

GIGLIO, Italy — Rescue divers discovered the bodies of two women in the submerged Internet cafe lounge of the Costa Concordia shipwreck on Monday, raising the official death toll to 15, as salvage crews were authorized to start extracting the vessel’s half million gallons of fuel.

Civil protection officials said that the search for victims of the Jan. 13 shipwreck off this Tuscan island would continue “as long as it is possible to inspect whatever can be inspected.” Adm. Ilarione dell’Anna of the coast guard said the removal of the fuel, regarded as a serious environmental threat, could begin as early as Tuesday and would pose no conflict with the search effort.

Officials have given conflicting tallies for the number of missing, partly because of uncertainty over whether there may have been unregistered people among the more than 4,200 passengers and crew aboard. But with the latest discovery of bodies, they said about 24 remain unaccounted for.

The cruise line operator, Costa Cruises, a unit of the Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest luxury cruise company, has blamed Capt. Francesco Schettino for causing the shipwreck by deviating from his assigned route and getting too close to the island. Capt. Schettino has said he hit an uncharted rock. Prosecutors are expected to bring formal charges Captain Schettino, who remains under house arrest at his home near Naples.

Legal maneuverings between Captain Schettino’s lawyers and Costa Cruises, which has sought to depict him as the only wrongdoer, took a new turn on Monday. Bruno Leporatti, Captain Schettino’s lawyer, said in a statement that other Costa Cruises officials, including its marine operations director, may share responsibility for the wreck of the 950-foot ship, which cost $563 million when it went into service in 2006.

Mr. Leporatti also said some emergency pumps and the water-tight doors of the Costa Concordia did not work, which may have caused the ship to list heavily to starboard. The vessel was designed to sink symmetrically.

Italian news reports on the shipwreck also added some mysterious elements to the convoluted aftermath. Newspapers said a mysterious woman, possibly a Costa Cruises lawyer or an employee, took Captain Schettino’s laptop computer the morning after the shipwreck from a Giglio hotel where he had spent a short time after coming ashore in a life boat. It was not clear how he would have managed to bring the laptop with him, given earlier accounts of the chaotic escape. Costa Cruises denied the reports.

According to leaked transcripts of the interrogation of Captain Schettino, he said that company officials had requested before the ship’s departure form the port of Civitavecchia that he take the ship close to the Giglio Island shoreline for publicity, a move he described as a “recurring practice.”

Costa Cruises has said its rules allow a captain to make “touristic navigation five miles off the coast.”

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