Despite rescue attempts over the weekend and early this week, the number of passengers thought to be missing after the Costa Concordia disaster is now believed to be 29.
The ship shifted slightly yesterday, hampering rescue efforts. Authorities decided divers were at risk of being trapped within the vessel which is lying partially submerged off the Tuscan island of Giglio.
The Italian coastguard says that now 25 passengers and four crew members remain unaccounted for – the number is up from 16 yesterday.
Seven people are confirmed dead in the tragedy which Costa Crociere SpA (owned by cruise giant Carnival) are blaming on the ship’s captain. Reports are now in about a recording that indicates he abandoned ship and refused to return. 10 Germans and two Americans are among the missing.
Costa chairman Pier Luigi Foschi said the unauthorised deviation from the ship’s route from the port of Rome route had been taken to “make a salute” – Captain Schettino is accused of sailing too close to the shore to “show the ship to the port”.
Foschi is stated as saying that Costa Concordia had veered off her usual route when she hit rocks near the coast, causing a gash in her hull. A judge will decide today whether the Captain remains in police custody.
All 35 Britons on board were safely evacuated and most are now home. Costa Concordia was carrying 4,200 people aboard, one quarter of that number being crew members.
Investigators have the ship’s ‘black box’ recorders so more will be revealed in due course.
There are worries that 2,300 gallons of fuel from the 112,000 tonne ship could leak into the local waters, a protected sanctuary for dolphins, porpoises and whales.