Monday, January 16, 2012

Captain and Most of Crew Abandon Ship

The captain of a capsized cruise liner reportedly sailed the ship close to the rocky shores of Giglio to please his head waiter who comes from the island, Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported Monday.

Officials and witnesses said earlier that the disaster may have been caused by a risky practice of close-passing the island of Giglio in a foghorn-blasting salute to the local population.

A state of emergency has reportedly been declared in Italy after an unidentified liquid began leaking from the Costa Concordia.

Sky News reports that protective barriers have been put in place around the ship, citing Italy's environment minister. The state of emergency declaration is to formally release funds to address the ongoing situation as anti-spill booms have been deployed to minimize potential safety risks.

An earlier estimate of 16 passengers missing was revised upward, to 29 missing, late Monday night by the Italian coast guard.

The rescue operation on the cruise liner resumed Monday afternoon after a brief suspension, as fears grew for the people -- including an American couple and a 5-year-old child -- who remained missing.