Costa Concordia one month on

By Andy Young and Ian Jones AP Photo/Giuseppe Modesti
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What we now know about the cruise ship disaster - and what could happen next

On the night of 18 January the Costa Concordia cruise ship was taken off course by its captain Francesco Schettino. The ship then hit rocks and quickly capsized off the coast of Tuscany. This image was taken around 10.30pm on the night of the tragedy and shows lifeboats trying to escape the stricken vessel. But what has happened since then? And what does the future hold for the ship and its crew?

Reuters/Giampiero Sposito
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Pollution

Fortunately the worst fears of a huge environmental disaster have not been realised. There were concerns over the estimated 2,400 tonnes of fuel on board, but the work to remove this has begun.

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Vessels work on the removal of fuel

Experts have said it will take 28 days to remove fuel from 15 tanks accounting for more than 80% of all fuel on board the ship. The next job will be to target the engine room, which contains nearly 350 cubic metres of diesel, fuel and other lubricants. The removal began on 13 February after rough seas off the Tuscan coast forced the suspension of recovery operations.

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Memorial service

To date 17 people have been certified dead from the disaster and a further 15 are still missing. The relatives of those still missing took part in a memorial service on 13 February, throwing flowers in the water around the stricken vessel.

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Church service

The Saints Lorenzo and Mamiliano Church on Giglio island also conducted a memorial service for the families of those still missing. The recovery operation was halted after the ship moved more than four centimetres in six hours at the end of January.

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Ship movement

University of Florence professor Riccardo Fanti said the ship's movements could either be caused by the ship settling on its own weight, slipping deeper into the seabed, or both. He also could not rule out the ship's sliding along the seabed.

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A summer attraction

Only once the fuel is removed can work begin on removing the ship, either floating it in one piece or cutting it up and towing it away as a wreck. Costa has begun the process for taking bids for the recovery operation, a process that will take two months. The actual removal of the Costa Concordia will take from seven to 10 months - meaning that the wreck will be visible from the coast of the island of Giglio for the entire summer tourism season.

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Captain Francesco Schettino

Disgraced captain Francesco Schettino is still under house arrest and Italian prosecuters have called for him to be jailed for a total of 2,697 years. Schettino, 52, could be facing charges of multiple manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship.

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Ridiculed throughout Italy

It is alleged that the skipper changed the ship's course so he could sail close to Giglio. Once the ship hit rocks, Schettino is accused of abandoning the vessel and leaving on a lifeboat while hundreds of passengers remained trapped on board the Costa Concordia.

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Impact on cruise sales

In the week following the Costa Concordia tragedy the UK cruise market saw bookings fall sharply, with figures showing they were down 29% on the same week last year. Although that figure has started to creep back up, sales in the week to 4 February were still 15% down on 2011.

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Industry impact

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, the world's second-largest cruise operator, warned that earnings in the current quarter could fall by as much as 50%, thanks to the Costa Concordia disaster causing a sharp drop-off in new cruise bookings.

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Compensation

Passengers who were not injured in the sinking were offered 11,000 euro each to compensate them for lost baggage and psychological trauma. The ship's owners also also said they would reimburse passengers the full costs of their cruise, travel expenses and any medical expenses sustained as a result of the disaster. The Costa Concordia is owned by Costa Crociere SpA, a subsidiary of Miami-based Carnival Corp, the world's biggest cruise operator.

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The fallout continues

So far numerous passengers have rejected the compensation offer from Costa Crociere SpA. They include one female passenger who has filed a lawsuit after she suffered a miscarriage following the accident. Passengers in France, Germany and the United States have all filed legal complaints and 19 people have filed criminal charges against Francesco Schettino. The company is currently facing lawsuits for more than $500 million.