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Italy cruise ship fuel removal stalled due to rough seas

January 28, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Rough seas proved to be a major problem for fuel removal crews working on the grounded cruise liner off Italy's Tuscan coast.

The choppy waters have forced a delay in the start of an operation to pump out half a million gallons of fuel from the Costa Concordia.

Work was expected to start on Saturday, but the dangerous conditions made it impossible. There are growing concerns that a leak could cause an environmental catastrophe.

Recovery operations continued and yielded a 17th body: The woman who wasn't wearing a life jacket was found by divers on the submerged sixth floor deck, civil protection officials said.

The Concordia ran aground on Jan. 13 off the port of the island of Giglio after the captain deviated from his planned route and gashed the hull of the ship on a reef.

Some 4,200 passengers and crew endured a panicked evacuation after the abandon ship alarm didn't sound until the ship had capsized so much that some life boats couldn't be lowered.

The body discovered Saturday has not yet been identified. It's also not clear now when the operation will begin.

See photos of the cruise ship Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.