Fuel from the crippled Costa Concordia is due to be pumped out by salvage workers after experts said the ship was now stable.
Two more bodies have been found by divers in the ship, taking the total of confirmed dead to 15.
The divers will continue the search in tandem with the fuel removal. The vessel is carrying about 1.9 million litres of fuel in 13 tanks.
The decision to carry out both operations at once was made after it was determined that Costa Concordia did not risk falling to a lower seabed. The latest victims to be found were women discovered near the ship’s internet cafe.
The recovery of the two brings to 18 the number of known missing from the vessel which hit rocks off the Italian island of Giglio on January 13 with 4,200 people on board.
Fears that extra, unregistered passengers may have been on the ship have now diminished, the BBC reported.
A Hungarian woman whose name was not on the passenger list was initially said to be missing after having contacted her family from the ship on the day it set sail.
But the country’s foreign ministry has told Italian authorities its inquiries show the individual who declared her missing did so using a false identity, that of a person who has been dead for three years.
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