VIDEO: As cruise ship search stops, U.S. officials say such a situation here is unlikely
The Costa Concordia ran aground over the weekend, killing 11 and leaving about two dozen still missing with hope quickly fading that they'll be found alive. Meanwhile, U.S. officials are seeking to reassure domestic cruise passengers.
Italian Coast Guard officials suspended their search for survivors on the Costa Concordia on Wednesday, amidst fears that the shifting ship could injure or kill the rescuers.
At the same time, U.S. Coast Guard officials told the Associated Press that such an incident is highly unlikely in the United States.
According to the BBC, Italian officials have determined that the ship has shifted since earlier measurements were taken. They're in the process of trying to determine if the ship has reached a new, stable resting point, or if it's expected to shift further.
"Officials are hoping to begin salvage work soon, including pumping oil off the wreck, as hopes fade of finding any more survivors," the BBC said.
In the United States, Coast Guard officials are pointing to the safety inspections and surprise audits they conduct as being designed to prevent the sorts of disasters unfolding in Italy.
"During the annual exam and semi-annual exam, we deploy all the lifeboats on the outboard side," Coast Guard Lt. Commander Dan Brehem said to the AP. "Also, during the annual exam, they'll deploy a life raft, so we get to see the crew's proficiency."
The officer said that in the U.S., cruise liners are expected to be evacuated within 30 minutes of the abandon ship order being given, even with as much as a 20 percent list.
Meanwhile, new reports of the conduct of Costa Concordia Captain Francesco Schettino are coming forward. According to The New York Times, Schettino actually fell into the lifeboat, and had no intention to actually leave the ship. He told an Italian newspaper he didn't even have a life jacket on, having given it to a passenger.
“The passengers were pouring onto the decks, taking the lifeboats by assault,” he was quoted as saying. "I was trying to get people to get into the boats in an orderly fashion. Suddenly, since the ship was at a 60 to 70 degree angle, I tripped and I ended up in one of the boats."