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Italian cruise ship Britons 'safe'

All British passengers and crew on board the stricken Costa Concordia, which keeled over off the Italian coast, are safe, William Hague has said.

The Foreign Secretary told Sky News: "We can say now, on the basis of the information available to us, that all the British nationals involved are accounted for and are safe."

He added that a rapid deployment team had been sent from the UK to Italy.

"We are doing our utmost to look after everybody. They have been through a very dreadful and distressing experience," he said.

It is thought most of the 23 British passengers and 12 crew members made their way to Rome after being rescued.

The Foreign Office is helping them organise emergency travel documents and onward travel.

Mr Hague said officials were "not complacent" when cross checking all details.

He said: "There may still be some other information that comes to light, but based on all the phone calls we've had, the passenger lists, the people that we've been able to track down, the British nationals - 35 British nationals - are safe and accounted for."

He added that consular staff were on the ground to provide support to passengers, including those who have lost their passports.

Three people died after the luxury cruise ship ran aground on Friday night a few hundred metres from the coast of the island of Giglio off the Tuscan coast. Around 40 remain unaccounted for.

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