Costa Cruises has insisted that emergency procedures on board Costa Concordia were "promptly activated" despite the loss of lives as the ship ran aground off the coast of Italy.
The latest statement from the company said: "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."
But it added: "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."
Costa could not confirm the number of British passengers on board the stricken vessel.
"We promptly activated through all our organisation and personnel to give assistance to our guests and to our crew members," the company said. "We are still committed to do everything that is necessary to bring them back home.
The company said it was too early to say what caused the tragedy, which has left the ship on its side.
"We are conducting an internal investigation and offering our full collaboration to the authorities in their investigations," said Costa.
"It is a tragedy that devastates us, our thoughts go to the families of the victims. It is a sad moment for all of those working at Costa Cruises. What happened thwarts the commitment to safety that we always adopt."
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