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Rough seas delay liner fuel removal

Rough seas off Italy's Tuscan coast have forced a delay in the start of the operation to pump out half a million gallons of fuel from the grounded cruise liner Costa Concordia.

The choppy waters also partially dislodged a barge owned by Dutch salvage firm Smit that was hitched to the Concordia's hull to serve as a staging platform for the fuel removal operation.

Smit had intended to start pumping fuel out on Saturday amid concerns that a leak could wreak havoc on the protected marine sanctuary. It is not clear when the operation will now begin.

Paola Pagliara from Italy's civil protection forecast centre said weather conditions off the island of Giglio, where the Concordia ran aground on January 13, are likely to remain rough through the weekend.

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