Posted: Jan 17, 2012 5:39 AM by Kate Richards
A seventh body has been recovered from the wrecked cruise ship that ran aground over the weekend.
A Dutch extraction firm says it will take between two to four weeks to safely remove the oil from the ship off Italy's Tuscan coast.
The firm Smit, of Rotterdam, Netherlands, said Tuesday the search operation for the missing 29 people has the first priority and a survey of the ship must take place before the extraction begins.
Officials say however, the two operations can go on in tandem and the fuel extraction operation could begin as early as Wednesday if approved by Italian officials.
Italy's environment minister has warned of an ecological crisis if the oil spills off the island of Giglio, part of a protected sanctuary for dolphins, porpoises and whales. Some 500,000 gallons of fuel are on board the Costa Concordia cruise ship that ran aground Friday.