Over the weekend news broke that salvage crews are beginning to pump the 500,000 gallons of fuel aboard the wrecked cruise liner Costa Concordia. The operation is a welcome relief to environmentalists, who worried that a fuel leak would be devastating to the local flora and fauna, especially in the protected marine sanctuary where the wreck lies.
I had heard that the area where Costa Concordia ran aground was part of a marine sanctuary, so I decided to learn more about it. The island of Giglio is one of seven islands that are part of Italy’s Tuscan Archipelago National Park. The park claims to be the largest marine sanctuary in Europe, protecting some 140,000 acres of sea, and tens of thousands of acres of land. The national park is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna.
Until now, weather had prevented salvage crews from pumping the fuel, but they are working 24 hours a day to remove fuel from the 15 tanks on board. The salvage company spearheading the operation, Smit Salvage, estimates that it will take a full 28 days to remove all the fuel.