Italian Ship Wreck: Cruise Liner May Remain for 10 Months

VIDEO:  It could take most of the year to clear the wreckage of the Costa Concordia.
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The Costa Concordia cruise ship may not be removed from the Tuscan coast where it capsized until the end of 2012 as rough water hampers the latest recovery operations.

Officials said Sunday that it may take 10 months to remove the ship off the port of the island of Giglio. The beginning of operations to remove 500,000 gallons of fuel was halted after the cruise liner moved an inch and a half over six hours, and waves reached three feet.

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 Associated Press reported.

The body of Erika Soria Molina, a Peruvian crew member, was found on Saturday, raising the death toll to 17, as 16 crew and passengers are still missing.

Molina, who was found on the submerged sixth floor deck, was not wearing a life jacket, according to AP.

"The situation underwater is different in different points of the ship. Some points are not accessible, both where the ship lies on the rocks -- the cabins there are not reachable -- while the majority of the other cabins could be opened and freed by furniture, mattresses and bed nets," Italian Police Diver Mario Giambalbo told ABC News."We could check if there were missing people. In the majority of cases the outcome was negative. In others, we found bodies."

One of the bodies brought from the sunken vessel has yet to be identified. Among those missing are Gerald and Barbara Heil, from White Bear Lake, Minn.

PHOTOS: Inside the Costa Concordia Cruise Ship Tragedy

Some 4,200 passengers and crew evacuated the ship when it ran aground Jan. 13. The abandon ship alarm had not been sounded until after the boat had capsized, leaving some of the life boats unable to be lowered.

New images captured by divers were revealed over the weekend as they searched the sunken cruise ship. The images show a modern-day Titanic, and including dishes caught in a net, and on the sea bottom, mattresses, clothes, and even a black shoe.

For now the immediate focus is on the environment and the removing of half a million gallons of diesel fuel from the ship's tanks before it leaks out. Officials said pumping may now not begin until midweek.

So far no leakage has been reported in the area, which is a protected marine sanctuary and popular scuba diving area.

Concordia's Captain Francesco Schettino is under house arrest for allegedly causing the wreck and abandoning the ship. His lawyers have said he did nothing wrong and in fact saved many lives with his actions.

Preparations have now been made to begin pumping fuel out of the ship's six outer tanks.

Martijn Schuttevaer said Saturday that poor weather forecasted in the area until Tuesday will delay pumping operations.

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