The Wreckage of Costa Concordia

The shocking images of a half sunken ship plunging slowly into water might have been Titanic all over again for us but spare a thought for the 4200 people who were on board. More than 11 people have died since the cruise-ship came to a grinding halt after hitting a rocky reef, off the Coast of Tuscan Island. 24 people are still missing while rescue operations are still on to bring back any survivors, however the situation looks rather grim.

The focus now is to prevent the incident from spiraling into an environmental disaster for the region. The ship has more 2,000 tons of diesel stored in over 17 tanks, as of now there are no ruptures or no signs of a leak. A possibility of a leak cannot be ruled out, which will turn out to be an ecological nightmare for the region.

The man responsible for the vessel, Captain Schettino fled the scene, while thousands on board were panicking and scurrying for life-boats. Passengers were shocked at his behavior. Costa; the owners of the vessel have singled out Captain Schettino as the one responsible for the accident. According to them, Schettino had deviated off course and did not take the frequently travelled route. Schettino has been put under house arrest and also appeared before the magistrate on Tuesday, 17th January. He will face charges of manslaughter, shipwreck and abandoning a ship and might face up to 15 years in prison.

Passengers onboard endured the toughest time of their lives, many described the scene of the accident as ‘chaotic and surreal’. Our hearts go out for two missing Americans, Gerald and Barbara Ann Heil from Minnesota who were on their trip of a lifetime after years of toil, raising four kids.

At this stage, one hopes the situation does not spiral into an ecological disaster. Reports suggest that it could take up to 4 months to clean up the mess. The first step is for salvage teams to dive in to assess the damage caused. The next step is to drain the oil on board to prevent a spill; the oil will be drained with the help of pumps and valves and vacuumed into transport vehicles, this process alone could take up to 4 weeks. The final step will be to see if the ship can be stabilized to recover any passenger belongings and steered to shore, otherwise it will be towed away by tugboats.

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