Italian Officials: Removing Stricken Cruise Ship May Take Until End of Year

Posted January 29th, 2012 at 7:40 pm (UTC-5)
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Italian officials say it may take until the end of the year before the capsized cruise ship Costa Concordia can be removed.

The officials said Sunday they cannot start to move the damaged vessel until all the fuel has been removed — a process that takes about a month.

The ship then may have to be cut into pieces and hauled away. They say this could take as long as 10 months because of weather and other unforeseen conditions.

Experts suspended pumping the remaining fuel and rescue teams put off searching for more bodies Sunday when tides and waves caused the ship to move.

A 17th body, a female crew member, was found Saturday. At least 15 people are still missing.

The Costa Concordia hit a reef and capsized two weeks ago off the coast of northern Italy. Authorizes say Captain Francesco Schettino was sailing too close to shore. He is under house arrest facing charges of manslaughter and abandoning his ship before all the passengers found safety.