Cruise ship search resumes; 21 still missing

The Costa Concordia was carrying more than 4,200 passengers and crew when it slammed into a reef and capsized Friday after the captain made an unauthorized diversion from his programmed route.

Italian navy divers approach the cruise ship Costa Concordia in the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. Italian naval divers on Tuesday exploded holes in the hull of a cruise ship that grounded near a Tuscan island to speed the search for 29 missing passengers and crew while the seas remain relatively calm. The search intensified as prosecutors prepared to question the captain, who is accused of causing the wreck that left at least six dead by making a maneuver that the Italian cruise operator said was "unapproved and unauthorized." (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

(CBS/AP) ROME - Divers resumed the search Thursday for 21 people still missing after a cruise ship capsized off the Tuscan coast, but rough seas forecast for later in the day added an element of uncertainty to the operation and plans to begin pumping fuel from the stranded vessel.

The $450 million Costa Concordia was carrying more than 4,200 passengers and crew when it slammed into a reef and capsized Friday after the captain made an unauthorized diversion from his programmed route and strayed into the perilous waters.

Eleven people have been confirmed dead, their bodies removed from the ship and frigid waters. CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey says hopes of finding anyone still alive in the wreck have largely faded six days after it ran aground on a Tuscan island.

Divers were focusing on an evacuation route on the fourth level, now about 60 feet below the surface, where five bodies were found earlier this week, Navy spokesman Alessandro Busonero told Sky TG 24.

Officials restarted the search after determining the ship had stabilized after shifting on the rocks 24 hours earlier.

The ship's sudden movement also postponed the start of the weekslong operation to extract the half-million gallons of fuel on board the vessel, as Italy's environment minister warned Parliament of the ecological implications if the ship sinks. (Click the player at left for a report on how the ship will be salvaged)

"Today is an important day, the weather forecasts are negative, rough sea, we'll have to see how the ship reacts to that," firefighter spokesman Luca Cari said Thursday.

Pizzey reports the massive amounts of equipment that will be needed to drain the fuel from the wreck, and eventually move it, are already arriving, and the hunt for bodies is tied to growing concern over a possible environmental disaster; authorities insist all the rescuers must be off the ship before the operation to remove the 500,000 gallons of fuel in the ship's tanks begins.

How you clean up a 1,000-foot shipwreck

While the company tasked with siphoning off the fuel says every precaution will be taken to prevent a spill, and anti-pollution booms have been laid between the wreck and the shoreline, local residents whose whole way of life is under threat are worried it won't be enough.

"It will be an environmental disaster and it would be a commercial disaster for the island's tourism which is the main source of revenue," Elizabeth Nanni, vice president of Giglio's tourism office, tells Pizzey.

Authorities on Wednesday identified the first victim: Sandor Feher, a 38-year-old Hungarian musician working aboard, who a fellow musician said helped crying children into lifejackets, then disappeared while trying to retrieve his beloved violin from his cabin. His body was found inside the wreck and identified by his mother who traveled to Italy, according to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry.

Of the 11 dead and 21 missing, Italian officials have only released 27 names so far. They are two Americans, 12 Germans, six Italians, four French, and one person each from Hungary, India and Peru.


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