How the Costa Concordia has affected the Environment

As initial rescue attempts have come to a close, attention now focuses on the environment and its aftermath. On the 13th of January the 114,500 tonne Costa Concordia collided with rocks and submerged. The shipwreck has led to concerns over the environment and worry of oil polluting the oceans.

If fuel leaks from the Costa Concordia it could result in similar effects as the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. Martijn Schuttevaer stated that ‘Smit’ a Dutch company has already started extracting oil from the cruise liner; however, people are unaware at how long the removal of the oil will take. Oil extraction has been delayed due to severe weather conditions and environmentalists fear it could take up to ten months. The fuel stored in the ship was extremely low quality and contained large amounts of tar. This has caused great fear to ecosystems and Tuscany coastlines.

Yearly, thousands of people take vacations on cruise ships visiting significant beauty spots around the globe. Close to the Costa Concordia shipwreck is Europe’s Largest Marine Sanctuary. The Island of Giglio is part of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park. The National Park contains 56,800 hectors of protected sea and also a large area of land. Environmental correspondent Richard Black stated that if oil does seep out of the cruise ship then it could threaten one of Europe’s leading fish supplies which include tuna, barracudas and crabs. In addition an oil spill could affect lizards and birds located on the National Park. The protected area is also a major attraction for dolphins, whales and turtles.  There is no justice for the wildlife located in the National Park, if an oil spill happened then it would threaten habitats and cause species to diverse elsewhere.

Furthermore, there is great fear of the effects the Costa Concordia will cause to the sea bed when removed.  The shipwreck would have damaged the majority of ecosystems due to the lack of light entering the sea bed. Decreases in grass and plant life will result in declines of oxygen in the ocean causing many ecosystems to die. This is a great injustice for plants and animals that have been affected by the Costa Concordia. Due to the lack of voice of ecosystems it highlights their lack of rights leaving it to Environmentalists to heighten their say.

There is also great injustice for local Italians if an oil spill did occur.  Many local fishermen would lose out on trade due declines in cod, scampi and lobster. It could be questioned how local Italians would be repaid for their loss in income due to the Costa Concordia capsizing. The Italian Mayor Sergio Ortelli is greatly concerned that the shipwreck would cause a decrease in tourism which is a key to the areas gross domestic product.  Many tourists maybe put off from visiting due to the capsized ship destroying the natural beauty and cultural heritage. It is clear to see that many Italians living on the coastlines could be forced into unemployment due to loss of jobs in tourism.


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