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Posted January 19, 2012 EST

Italian Crews Suspend Search As Capsized Cruise Ship Hull Shifts
Italian Crews Suspend Search As Capsized Cruise Ship Hull Shifts

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World - Italian rescue workers suspended operations Wednesday after a stricken cruise ship shifted slightly on the rocks near the Tuscan coast while concerns were raised over the fuel left on the listing ship. Instruments attached to the Costa Concordia detected the movements even though firefighters who spent the night searching the area above water for the missing could not detect any movement.

"As a precautionary measure, we stopped the operations this morning, in order to verify the data we retrieved from our detectors," Italian coast guard Cmdr. Filippo Marini said.

The $450 million Costa Concordia cruise ship was carrying more than 4,200 passengers and crew when it slammed into the reef Friday off the tiny Italian island of Giglio after the ship veered off course.

Twenty-one passengers are unaccounted for and though 11 bodies have been recovered, only that of Sandor Feher, a violinist from Hungary who had been working as an entertainer on the ship, has been identified. An American couple from Minnesota are among the missing.

Jozsef Balog, a pianist working on the ship, told the Blikk newspaper that Feher was wearing a life jacket when he decided to return to his cabin to pack his violin. Balog said Feher helped put life jackets on several crying children before returning to his cabin.

Feher was last seen on deck en route to the area where he was supposed to board a lifeboat.

Premier Mario Monti thanked the residents of Giglio, which has a wintertime population of about 900, for opening their doors to the passengers who struggled ashore with nothing and were given clothes, food and shelter.

Passengers were still making their way home, with consistent claims that crewmembers were ill-prepared to handle an emergency evacuation.

"The crewmembers had no specialized training -- the security man doubled as the cook and bartender, so obviously they did not know what to do," passenger Claudia Fehlandt told Chile's Channel 7 television after being embraced by relatives at Santiago's airport.

"In fact, the lifeboats, even the ones that did get lowered, they did not know how to lower them and they cut the ropes with axes," she said.

Capt. Francesco Schettino is being held under house arrest, accused of manslaughter and abandoning his passengers and crew during a sinking. He faces a possible 12 years in prison if convicted.

Photos by AP
Written by USA Today

Courtesy of YellowBrix
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