Archive for 01/15/2012

gCaptain – 

Italian authorities on Saturday were investigating what caused a cruise ship to run aground off the Tuscan shore, triggering a confused evacuation in which three people died and dozens remain missing.

A spokeswoman for the Italian coast guard on Saturday said the Costa Concordia‘s captain, Francesco Schettino, had been detained for questioning by police and coast-guard officials.

Mr. Schettino has said the rock formation hit by the ship Friday night off the small island of Giglio wasn’t marked on nautical maps, according to the coast-guard spokeswoman.

Mr. Schettino, who hasn’t been charged, was being held in a prison in the town of Grosseto and couldn’t be reached for comment.

Two survivors were found in one of the ship’s rooms nearly a a day after the ship rolled onto its side.

They were identinfied as a South Korean couple on their honeymoon. Prato fire commander Vincenzo Bennardo said rescuers who had been banging on doors of the ship cabins all night finally heard a reply from one of the rooms early Sunday.

He said the two, about 29 years old, were in good condition. Italian authorities late Saturday recovered the ship’s black-box recorder, but it’s too soon to say what, if anything, it may reveal about the accident.

Antonio Belardo, a local official, said the ship deviated from its “usual” route in order to give passengers a view of Giglio’s port.

That meant navigating a strait, so that the ship could skirt a stretch of the small island’s coastline that faces mainland Italy.

Gianni Onorato, managing director of Carnival Corp.’s Costa Cruises, which operated the ship, told reporters on Saturday that the course taken by the ship Friday evening was “not a defined route for passing Giglio.”

However, Mr. Onorato said it would be “incorrect to say the ship was off course,” adding that he was unaware of all of the possible routes available to the captain at the time.

“It’s difficult to say at this moment what happened,” Mr. Onorato said, adding that the company was cooperating with authorities to “shed light on the causes of this tragedy that is unprecedented in our 64-year history.”

Full story…


9News – 

Most people head to the golf course for a day of relaxation or competition, but golf ball divers Jarrett Cornell and Cody Allen were at Arrowhead Golf Course in Naples last Thursday to get a job done.

“It’s a really weird job,” Allen said.

While everyone else is in shorts, the 20-year-olds suit up in scuba gear and head out to the water.

They swim through murky waters to find all of the golf balls that didn’t quite make it to their intended targets.

“We’ll sit here and watch people tee off and were kind of like, ‘Water, water, water,’ you know? So it’s kind of like every golf ball we see go in water, it’s a couple more pennies were going to make,” Cornell said.

Equipped with oxygen tanks and masks, the golf ball divers say they don’t mind the goofy gear as long as they find what they’re looking for. To do that, they swim through the unknown.

“The deep water is probably my biggest thing. We got courses that get 30-feet deep in pitch black – it’s scary,” Allen said.

In just 20 minutes Thursday, the pair came out with two bags full of balls, which they turn around and sell for $.08 each.

The Arrowhead course has 20 ponds filled with golf balls.

In just a couple of days, divers collected 50,000 balls, then refurbished and resold the, making good money.

Full story…

Gavin Jones and Antonio Denti – 

About 40 people were still missing Sunday more than 24 hours after an Italian cruise ship with more than 4,000 on board capsized off Italy’s west coast, killing at least three people and injuring 70.

The captain of the luxury 114,500-tonne Costa Concordia was being held in jail accused of multiple manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship, Italian police said.

Passengers, some saying it felt like a rerun of the Titanic disaster, told of people leaping into the sea and fighting over lifejackets in panic when the ship hit a rock and ran aground near the island of Giglio late Friday.

“I was sure I was going to die. We were in the lifeboats for two hours, crying and holding on to each other,” said Antonietta Sintolli, 65, breaking down in tears as she recounted the event.

“People were trying to steal lifejackets from each other. We could only gets ones for children.”

Passengers said mainly Asian crew members, few of them able to speak Italian, struggled to bring order to the evacuation.

Early Sunday, firefighters found two people still alive in a cabin after making voice contact with them from several decks above, Italian media reported.

An official involved in the rescue operation said two French tourists and a Peruvian crew member were dead.

There were fears the death toll could rise in one of Italy’s worst shipping disasters in years as specialist diving teams checked interior spaces of the vessel.

“We don’t rule out the possibility that more people will be lost,” said fire services spokesman Luca Cari.

It was not clear how many of those unaccounted for could still be trapped in the ship or simply had not been counted among those rescued.

Full story…


Cleo Fraser –

Debris from the ship stranded on New Zealand’s Astrolabe Reef is expected to be strewn from northern Coromandel to Gisborne after the stern sank, taking 400 containers with it.

Salvors hope to remove most at sea before it reaches shores.

According to Braemar Howells operations manager Claudine Sharp, of the 400 containers thought to be onboard the stern of the Rena before it sank, just two were lost overboard.

Advertisement: Story continues below The fate of the rest will not be known until calmer weather conditions allow divers to investigate the area. NZ Environment Minister Nick Smith said less than 10 tonnes of oil was expected to discharge into the sea as a result of the stern sinking.

“This is a tribute to a large amount of oil being removed in October,” he said during a news conference in Tauranga.

Oil and debris was expected to wash up on nearby Motiti Island about 6pm (4pm AEDT) on Tuesday, with more expected as far as Matata on Wednesday afternoon. The stern hasn’t moved since it sank about 10am (8am AEDT) on Tuesday.

A 140-strong clean-up crew is stationed at Waihi Beach, Papamoa and Matakana Island.

There are also 13 vessels in the water clearing debris at sea.

Since Rena broke in two at the weekend during a severe storm, 49 containers have come off the vessel. Of those, 45 have been located, with 25 beached from Waihi Beach to Bowentown.

Full story…