Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is under fire after joking about the cruise liner disaster in which at least 11 people died off the Italian coast.
More than 20 people are still missing after the ship ran aground on rocks off the island of Giglio last Friday, and specialist divers are using explosives to blow holes in the hull in a desperate hunt for any survivors.
During an interview on Triple M radio in Adelaide this morning, Mr Abbott made light of the situation.
"This is a bit from left field mate, the captain of the Costa Concordia wants to know if you need any help with your boat policy?" the Triple M announcer said.
"Well, that was one boat that did get stopped, wasn't it," Mr Abbot replied, to laughter.
Federal Labor MP Rob Mitchell was quick to pounce on the remarks on Twitter.
"Can't believe Abbott made his childish boat jokes about the #CostaConcordia disaster when people died & are still missing," he tweeted.
"He must come out and apologise."