(Updates with death toll in fifth paragraph.)
Jan. 22 (Bloomberg) -- The possibility that the Costa Concordia cruise ship was carrying unregistered passengers when it capsized off Italy is complicating efforts to determine how many people remain missing, a rescue official said.
“It may be that there were clandestine passengers on the Costa Concordia,” Franco Gabrielli, the Civil Protection Agency official overseeing the search operations, said at a press conference broadcast today by SkyTG24.
The family of a Hungarian woman insist that their daughter was on the ship, though she was not on the official passenger registry, Gabrielli said. The woman hasn’t been accounted for.
Carnival Corp.’s Costa Crociere SpA ship struck rocks late on Jan. 13 close to the small island of Giglio, hours after leaving a port near Rome with 4,200 passengers and crew for a Mediterranean cruise.
Rescuers found the body of a woman today at 3:20 p.m. local time, acccording to an e-mailed statement from the Civil Protection Agency, taking the death toll to 13.
Gabrielli, who said the search operations are continuing today, confirmed there was no evidence of leaking oil or signs that other pollutants from the ship were contaminating the waters off Giglio.
Costa Crociere suspended Captain Francesco Schettino, who was placed under house arrest on Jan. 17 for allegedly causing the shipwreck.
Schettino told prosecutors the back-up system of the voice data recorder, or black box, had been broken for 15 days and while they had asked, it hadn’t been fixed, newspaper la Repubblica reported today. That may have compromised the integrity of the registration of events, the newspaper cited him saying.
Costa Crociere asked for the “salute” on Jan. 13 that led the cruise liner to hit the rocks, la Repubblica cited Schettino as saying. Schettino’s lawyer didn’t respond to a phone call by Bloomberg News seeking comment.
--Editors: Chad Thomas, Mike Harrison
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