The search for the 23 people still missing after the wreck of the Costa Concordia has been suspended again on Wednesday as the ship began to shift. Rescue operations were called off earlier in the week for the same reason, when choppy seas threatened to move the Concordia from its rocky perch.
Instruments indicated the ship had moved. We are in the process of evaluating if it has found a new resting point to allow us to resume. For the moment, we cannot even go near it, fire department spokesman Luca Cari told BBC.
Not only would a shifting ship make safe rescue operations difficult, but any movement against the rocks that are currently supporting the Concordia could rupture the vessel's fuel tanks, sending 500,000 gallons of oil into the waters of Giglio island in Tuscany, which won awards for being the cleanest and clearest in all of Italy.
The Costa Concordia capsized on Friday night after captain Francesco Schettino brought the ship off course and ran aground near the coast of Giglio. Because the ship was tilted so severely, the life rafts were submerged, but the Italian Coast Guard managed to get most of the 4,200 passengers and crew members to safety.
On Tuesday, the Coast Guard said there was still a glimmer of hope for finding people alive, but with five more bodies having been discovered and 24 more hours gone by since the statement was made, that hope is surely waning. A total of 11 people have been declared dead.
After being questioned by police and then by a judge for three hours in Grosseto, Italy, Schettino was placed under house arrest. He has been charged with multiple counts of manslaughter and abandoning ship.
Details about what happened on Friday night remain unclear, but an audio recording from the Coast Guard station indicates that Schettino left the ship before rescue efforts began and refused to return, despite orders from Coast Guard Capt. Gregorio De Falco to do so.
It is also believed that once he got on shore safely, Schettino hailed a taxi and went to a store to buy dry socks.
Schettino has admitted that he took the Concordia off course, but maintains that he stayed on board until the ship was evacuated.