As divers and rescue workers continue to provide aid to the massive shipwrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship, a thin contaminant slick has begun to appear on the surface, raising concerns of a full-fledged oil spill in the bay. Fears of a fuel leak have been on everyone’s minds since the sinking ship began to break up against the rocks, and for good reason – the ship can carry a whopping 500,000 gallons of fuel, which is enough to devastate the region’s coastline. Anticipating these concerns, the Italian government has hired Dutch salvage company SMIT to remove the ship’s half million gallons of fuel once rescue dives end this weekend. The company predicts that removing the diesel from all of the ship’s 17 tanks will take almost a month to complete.

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The Italian Coastguard spokesman Commander Cosimo Nicastro says that while the slick has been collected for testing, there is no sign of the 2,200 tons of fuel from the bottom of the ship on the water’s surface. While the bulk of the ship’s oil is still intact, a number of other pollutants could be responsible for the current slick. Franco Gabrielli from Italy’s Civil Protection Agency announced that “we must not forget that on that ship there are oils, solvents, detergents — everything that a city of 4,000 people needs.”

Via New York Times and National Post

Photos via Wikimedia Commons