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7 dead, 2 missing in container ship accident in Italy

English.news.cn   2013-05-09 07:19:03            

Photo taken on May 8 shows the fallen control tower in the port of Genoa, northern Italy. (Xinhua/Davide Pambianchi)  


MILAN, Italy, May 8 (Xinhua) -- The death toll of the Italian ship's accident in the northern Genoa port rose to seven late on Wednesday while more were injured or missing.

Divers were still searching bodies trapped in the underwater rubble of a 50-meter-tall control tower that was demolished by the container ship Jolly Nero on Tuesday night.

The ship, 239 meters long and with a gross tonnage of nearly 40,600 tonnes, suddenly crashed into the concrete and glass tower while maneuvering out the port in calm conditions.

"We are doing all possible to find those missing in the debris at some 10 meters of depth in sea water," a rescue team member told Xinhua.

He noted the accident happened during a shift change, meaning that 13 marine officials and sailors, more than usual, were inside the tower.

Two of the four injured were reported to be in serious conditions, while the bodies of the victims were recovered from an area near the submerged elevator of the tower.

Infrastructure Minister Maurizio Lupi, who arrived at the port soon after the crash, said that possible causes of the collision included problems in the vessel's engines or with the tugboat cables.

Apparently two tugboats were helping to maneuver the Jolly Black, he said, but it was not clear whether they were only available or already connected to the ship.

According to local sources, a human error occurred during the maneuver may also be among the causes of the collision.

"It was a tragic incident, we lost many young lives of the coast guard who were at work in the traffic monitoring center on the tower," coast guard spokesman Filippo Marini told Xinhua.

Genoa is one of the busiest seaports in Europe and its security levels remain excellent despite the unprecedented incident, he pointed out.

Marini also added that prosecutors have opened two investigations, for manslaughter and technical, over the accident. The vessel was impounded and its black box seized, while the captain was being questioned by police.

The marine traffic did not suffer significant consequences because of the accident as functions of the control tower were being assured through other means, according to port sources.

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Editor: Zhu Ningzhu
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