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In for the Long Hull: It Will Take Weeks to Drain the Costa Concordia's Fuel

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Italy's coast guard suspended the search for people on the Costa Concordia today after the ship slipped farther into the Mediterranean. On Friday, the cruise ship, carrying 4,200 passengers, struck rocks just off the coast of Tuscany. The ship quickly began listing to its side, and soon found itself halfway submerged. In the initial confusion, many passengers jumped into the water, while others boarded lifeboats or waited for rescuers to arrive. So far, 23 people are missing and eleven have been confirmed dead.

Now, the focus has shifted to draining the ship of fuel and minimizing the potential for more environmental damage to the region. But that process will most likely take weeks, experts say, so the Concordia won't be going anywhere anytime soon.

In the meantime officials are trying to decide how to deal with Capt. Francesco Schettino, who steered the vessel too close to the shore, then reportedly abandoned ship during the evacuation.

—Rose Eveleth

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