ROME - The captain of the wrecked cruise liner Costa Concordia apologized on Tuesday for the accident in which as many as 32 people died and said he had been distracted when the vast ship struck the rock which holed it.

In his first full television interview since the accident on January 13, Francesco Schettino acknowledged his responsibility as captain and said he thought constantly about the victims of the disaster.

"When there's an accident, it's not just the ship that's identified or the company," he told Italy's Canale 5 television, speaking calmly but with a pronounced tic in one eye. "The captain is identified and so it's normal that I should apologize as a representative of this system," he said.

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