Work begins to remove fuel from stricken ship

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The first phase of fuel removal from the capsized cruise ship Costa Concordia has been completed off Italy’s coast, it was announced last night.

Italy’s civil protection agency, which is monitoring the operation, said all fuel had been removed by yestersday evening from the tanks in the front part of the ship. Those tanks held roughly two-thirds of the stricken vessel’s fuel.

The Concordia held about 500,000 gallons of fuel when it struck a reef near the Tuscan island of Giglio on 13 January and capsized. Fuel removal from less accessible tanks will follow, but choppy seas predicted for today could delay the start.

Divers searching the wreck hope to find bodies of the 15 people missing. Seventeen bodies have been found over the past few weeks.