Skip to content.
20 May - 12:18 pm NZ
Updated at 6:31 am on 29 January 2012
Salvage crews preparing to pump thousands of tonnes of fuel oil from the wreck of the Costa Concordia cruise liner off the Italian coast have suspended work after heavy seas made conditions unsafe.
Officials say a barge carrying pumping equipment that was attached to the capsized ship has been withdrawn until conditions improve - and that could be days away.
The search continues for bodies on the half-submerged vessel, which lies in about 20 metres of water on a rock shelf close to the island of Giglio off the Tuscan coast.
Divers yesterday found the body of a woman, bringing the total number of known dead to 17.
With no hope of finding survivors, the focus has switched to preventing an environmental disaster in Giglio, a popular holiday island in a marine nature reserve.
The Italian company that owns the Costa Concordia, has offered passengers $14,000 each in compensation.
The deal comes after negotiations between Costa Cruises and several Italian consumer groups.
The company also promised to refund medical and transport expenses, as well as the cost of the cruise, in exchange for taking no legal action against Costa Cruises.
The cruise ship hit a rock and capsized off the island of Giglio two weeks ago with more than 3000 passengers on board. The death toll is 16, with 16 still missing.
But lawyers are urging survivors to press for much more money.
A partner and head of Irwin Mitchell's international law team, Clive Garner, represents some of the survivors and their families, the BBC reports.
"We're very keen to ensure that our clients receive full and fair compensation for their claims, and that needs to be carefully assessed. But it's too early to do that assessment at this stage."
And the consumer group Codacons has urged passengers not to accept the offer.
Codacons and two US law firms are filing a class-action lawsuit in the US suit against Costa Cruises, demanding at least $US160,000 for each passenger on the ship. Costa Cruises is owned by the US-based Carnival Group.
Copyright © 2012, Radio New Zealand
Audio is categorised based on the frequency of the programme it was heard in. Click on the headings below to access the programmes. For the most recently published audio, go to the latest audio page.
Streams are in Windows Media format. Mac and Linux users may need to install additional software. Get help with audio
A selection of music interviews, reviews, videos, concerts, sessions, and performances.
Downloads and podcasts are available for selected programmes. Our podcast page has a complete list of feeds.
Help on using online audio: formats, software, podcasts, downloading, and troubleshooting.