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article imageDutch salvage co. to begin pumping out oil from Costa Concordia

By Marcus Hondro     Jan 28, 2012 in World
The Dutch company, Smit Salvage, contracted to pump out the more than 2,300 tonnes of heavy fuel and 200 tonnes of diesel oil from the stricken Italian cruise ship, the Costa Concordia, is starting to do so on Saturday.
"Following extensive preparations over the last week by SMIT Salvage together with our partner Fratelli Neri, we expect to be ready to start pumping tomorrow, Saturday 28 January," Smit Salvage announced on their website on Friday.
Smit Salvage: Hot-tapping to begin
In the way of preparation, Smit Salvage said their divers have "inspected the forward section of the submerged underwater part of the ship and marked the drilling locations of the heavy fuel oil tanks." They also had to place 'hot tap valves' on the outer hull of the ship and drill holes through the hull into the oil tanks. The process by which they are pumping out the oil is called 'hot-tapping.'
They could not begin the work earlier in the week as it will create danger for boats or divers working around the Costa Concordia due to the further destabilizing effect hot-tapping will have. To date, the company said, there has not been breaches in the tanks and their tests do not show significant leakage. The operation may take 3 or 4 weeks, depending on weather, they said.
There are 16 persons known to have died in the Jan. 13 tragedy and another 16 still missing and presumed to have died. The ship's captain, Francesco Schettino, has been placed under house arrest pending further review by the Italian authorities.
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