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Earlier they recovered a sixth body from the 114,500-tonne Costa Concordia, which was holed by a reef on Friday night and rolled onto its side just off the coast of the picturesque island of Giglio. In addition to the six known to have died, officials say 16 of the 4,200 passengers and crew are missing.

The vessel’s captain, Francesco Schettino, was arrested on Saturday and has been accused of manslaughter and abandoning his ship before all those on board were evacuated.

The chief executive of the ship’s owners, Costa Cruises, on Monday blamed human error by Schettino for the disaster. Pier Luigi Foschi told a news conference the company would provide its captain with any assistance he required. "But we need to acknowledge the facts and we cannot deny human error," he added.

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