At least three people have died and more are missing after a cruise ship that had been carriying thousands of passengers ran aground near to the island of Giglio, off Italy on Friday night.
The Costa Concordia, owned by Costa Cruises, crashed into a sandbar close before listing approxomately 20 degrees.
There were 3,200 passengers of British, French and Italian nationality onboard including 1,000 crew.
Rescue teams searched the cabins for survivors, according to reports..
According to Costa Cruises, the Costa Concordia was sailing across the Mediterranean Sea, starting from Civitavecchia with scheduled calls to Savona, Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Cagliari and Palermo.
The cause of the accident is not yet known. In a statement, Costa Cruises said: “Our first thoughts go to the victims and we would like to express our condolences and our closeness to their families and friends.
“In this moment all our efforts are focused on the completion of the last emergency operations, besides providing assistance to the guests and the crew who were onboard.
“The company will fully co-operate with the relevant authorities in order to determine the causes of what happened.”
In response to the complaints of some passengers that the evacuation was disorganised, it added: “Crew members on board are professionally trained and they took all the necessary actions to assist our guests and help them to evacuate the ship.”
“The position of the ship has worsened, making it more complicated to complete the last part of the evacuation. Unfortunately, there has been some victims and missing persons.”