January 17th, 2012
10:02 AM ET

Port Authority to cruise ship captain: 'Get on board, damn it'

Recordings between the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship and the Livorno Port Authority, which is part of the Coastal Guards, have given new insight into what happened on the ship when it hit rocks Friday night just off Italy's western coast.

A total of 23 people remain missing following the wreck, which led to 11 deaths, Italian officials said Tuesday. Capt. Francesco Schettino is under arrest and may face charges that include manslaughter, shipwreck and abandoning a ship when passengers were still on board, according to an Italian prosecutor.

Questions abound for captain of doomed cruise ship

Below are several transcripts of recordings between authorities and the captain published by the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera and translated by CNN's Hada Messia. The first calls came in right after midnight.

Livorno Port Authorities: "Concordia, we ask you if all is OK there."

Concordia: "All is well."

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Port authority: "Concordia, We ask you if all is well there."

Concordia: "All is well. It is only a technical failure."

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Port authority: "How many people are on board?"

Schettino: "Two-three hundred"

Port authority: "How come so few people? Are you on board?’

Schettino: "No, I’m not on board because the ship is keeling. We’ve abandoned it."

Port authority: "What? You’ve abandoned the ship?"

Schettino: "No. What abandon? I’m here."

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Italian Coast Guard Capt. Gregorio De Falco: "Captain. This is De Falco from Livorno."

Schettino: "Commandant, I’ve also alerted the company… I’m being told that there are still passengers on board, apparently they are about one hundred… but I repeat…"

De Falco: "Captain. You are not able to tell me an exact figure? About a hundred people, it seems?

Schettino: "Commandant, I am not able to give you an exact figure because let me explain... while we were evacuating the last passengers… now we are all here with all the officers…"

De Falco: "Where are you? On the lifeboats? All the officers?"

Schettino: "Yes, we are with the second commander…"

De Falco: "Forgive me, but before you were only with a sailor. If the officers managed to get down, it means that they could still move."

Schettino: "Yes...in fact...

De Falco: "Then why don’t they get back on board? To monitor the operation and then they can tell us. Thank you."

Schettino: "No it is not possible…"

De Falco: "Send them on board. Send one person on board to coordinate..."

Schettino: "But I am doing the coordination."

De Falco: "I’m giving you an order captain. You need to send someone on board."

Schettino: "We are going on board to coordinate."

De Falco: "Exactly. You need to get on board to coordinate the evacuation. Is that clear?!"

Schettino:  "But we can’t get on board now…the ship is now…(hard to understand)..."

De Falco: "Why did you tell them to get down?"

Schettino: "What do you mean get down? We abandoned the ship…the ship turned ..."

De Falco: "...and with one hundred people on board you abandon the ship? (expletive)"

Schettino: "I did not abandon any ship with 100 people…the ship (hard to understand)...we were catapulted into the water..."

De Falco: We’ll see later what happened. OK? Now tell me everything that takes place. Everything. Get under with the lifeboat (not very clear at this point). Don’t move. Clear?"

Schettino: "Commandant..we are here…we are here..."

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Port authority: "You must return on board. Climb the ladder (rope ladder), return to the fore (stem) and coordinate the work."

Schettino does not reply

Port authority: "You must tell us how many people are on board, how many women, how many children. You have to coordinate the rescue operation. Commander, this is an order. Now I’m in charge, you have abandoned ship and now you are going to go to the stem and coordinate the work. There are already dead bodies."

Schettino: "How many?"

Port authority: "You should be the one telling me this…What do you want to do? Do you want to go home?...Now go back on the stem and tell me what to do.."

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Italian Coast Guard Capt. Gregorio De Falco: "Listen, this is De Falco from Livorno. Am I speaking with the captain?"

Schettino: "Yes."

Italian Coast Guard Capt. Gregorio De Falco: "Tell me your name."

Schettino: "This is Captain Schettino, commandant."

De Falco: "Listen Schettino, there are people trapped on board. Now, you have to go with your lifeboat and go under the boat stem on the straight side, there is a ladder there."

De Falco: "Get on board on the ship and tell me, you tell me how many people there are."

De Falco: "Clear? I’m recording this conversation, Captain Schettino."

Schettino: "Well then commandant, I need to tell you something."

De Falco: "Speak loudly."

Schettino: "The ship now…I’m here in front of it..."

De Falco: "Captain, speak loudly."

Schettino: "Commandant, at this moment the ship is tilted."

De Falco: "I understand. Listen. There are people who are coming down the stem ladder. You must take that ladder in the opposite direction. Get on board the ship and you tell me how many people are on board, and what do they have. Clear? You tell me if there are children, women, people with special needs. And you tell me how many there are of each category..."

De Falco: "Is that clear?"

De Falco: "Look Schettino, you might have been saved from the sea, but I will make sure you go through a very rough time…I will make sure you go through a lot of trouble. Get on board, damn it."

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Schettino: "Commandant, please…"

Port authority: "No...please. No, you get on board. Assure me that you are getting on board."

Schettino: (Hard to understand) "I’m here with the rescuers. I’m here. I’ve not gone anywhere. I’m here."

Port authority: "What are you doing captain?"

Schettino: "I’m here coordinating the rescue."

Port authority: (Speaks over captain): "What are you coordinating there? Go on board and coordinate from there the rescue operation. Are you refusing?"

Schettino: "No, no, I’m not refusing."

Port authority: "You are refusing to go on board? And why are you not going on board?"

Schettino: "I am going because now there is the other motorboat (Lancia) that has stopped now."

Port authority: "You go on board. It is an order. You cannot make any other evaluations. You have declared abandoning ship. Now I’m in charge. You get on board. Is it clear?"

Schettino:  "Commandant..."

Port authority over captain: "Are you not listening to me.."

Schettino speaks over Port authority: "I’m going..."

Schettino: "Call me immediately when you get on board. Our rescue officer is there."

Schettino:  "Where is your rescue officer?"

Port authority: "My rescue officer is at the stem…Go …(can hear captain saying OK)…There are already bodies, Schettino."

Schettino: "How many dead bodies are there?"

Port authority: "I don’t know. I know of one. I’ve heard of one. You are the one to tell me how many there are. Christ!"

Schettino:  "Are you aware that it is dark here and we cannot see anything?"

Port authority: "So? Do you want to go home Schettino? It is dark and you want to go home? Climb the ladder and get on the stem."

Port authority: "...and tell me what can be done, how many people are there, what do they need. Now."

Schettino: "Commandant, we are with the second in command…"

Port authority: "Then both of you climb up. What is his name?"

Schettino: "Dimitris Christidis."

Port authority: "You are your guard. Go on board, now!"

Schettino: "Commandant… I want to go on board, it is just that the other lifeboat here…there are other rescue operators... it has stopped and it is stuck there... now I’ve called other rescue operators..."

Port authority: "It is one hour that you are telling me this. You go on board. On b.o.a.r.d (says the word slowly almost spelling it out). And you immediately tell me how many people there are"

Schettino:  "OK."

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Filed under: Italy • Travel
soundoff (612 Responses)
  1. Andreas Moser

    For more analysis of the "Costa Concordia" accident: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/how-europe-welcomes-refugees/

    January 17, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    He abandoned ship.
    He is a coward.
    Shame on him.

    January 17, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • DJ

      He had to be seriously drunk, at least that's what I get from the recordings.I hope the authorities in Italy give him a long time behind bars to sober up.

      January 17, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Don Tolstoi

      they need to put in JAIL to all the people involved in hiring Schettino as a captain

      January 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    I would be rolling on the floor and laughing at the captain if this were not so tragic.
    It is astounding.
    How did a man like Schettino ever get command of a ship? That is a question for Costa.

    January 17, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Miriam

      That was the first thing I thought of as well. Someone that stupid should not have been hired on as a captain, especially for a cruise ship. Astounding.

      January 20, 2012 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
  4. max

    Its often tough to get the Captain to leave the ship..

    January 17, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  5. Peter

    A coward, evasive, he has blood on his hands. This is a person who absolutely failed his passengers and crew and must now live with the consequences...

    January 17, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  6. HiroProtagonist

    Wow–the port commander just handed that cruise captains a@# to him. Always entertaining when incompetents are publicly called out, tragic though everything else in this episode may be.

    January 17, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  7. Pinebelt Bob

    Remind me to stay off cruise ships!!

    January 17, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  8. Reflecto

    What an amazing display of cowardice.

    January 17, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  9. crabman

    hay -– who put a light house out here?? -------------- oh–my bad. this guy is a MORON and COWARD

    January 17, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  10. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    This conversation between Schettino, De Falco, and the coast guard reads like a Monty Python script.
    Amazingly, it really happened.

    January 17, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. MMAB

    What a pathetic excuse for a human. There were probably passengers on the ship who had the chance to get off right away and didn't, instead staying behind to help others. And yet, this man, who should be calling the shots during rescue efforts, chickened out and left people to die.

    January 17, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  12. coloradom

    How the heck did this idiot make Captain anyway? I think the questioning needs to begin with those who put him in that position in the first place. My prayers go out to the families that lost loved ones in this tragedy.

    January 17, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  13. Suzy Wills

    This Captain will pay for his mistakes. Costa Cruiselines will also pay! COWARD!

    January 17, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  14. Zeke2112

    De Falco is a beast. I commend him for trying to get this coward to do his duty.

    The funny part is that in America he would probably be discharged from service because he made the poor wittle captain feel bad and used an expletive.

    January 17, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Lorelei

      What? Exactly what country do you live in that you can call shots at how America would handle this? What an extremely short sited and ridiculous statement to make.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer M

      I have a brother-in-law who's in the Navy, and they're extremely strict about enforcing regulations. I think there would be a military trial, closed-door, and a captain who was found guilty of abandoning ship would just be sent into a dark hole, never to be heard from again.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • CommonSense

      Ummm, this isn't the Navy and every country's armed forces have way stricter guidelines than civilian law and don't give as much @#$ about being PC. TBH, I do understand the original poster's remark about the expletive thing...probably some union law that would get him done. Anyway, the BBC is reporting that he took a different course to salute family of a crew member who live on that island but hit a rock as turning away and then he steered back into the island when he realised the boat was severely damaged. Lloyd's List has the tracking of the vessel.

      January 17, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      Well, Zeke, in Canada they wouldn't have that issue because there is no one in that country with the balls to stand up like DeFalco did. You may now return to your back bacon and Molson induced stupor, eh?

      January 17, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Miriam

      Uh excuse me? I live in America. I don't know what kind of country you're from, but don't make ignorant statements like that if you have no clue what you're saying. That man was a hero of sorts, yes, but don't assume he'd get fired just because of his language if he lived in the states. That's completely ridiculous. Sound more envious, why don't you. ;]

      January 20, 2012 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mike, Cleveland OH

    Carnival Cruise Lines ... the adventure of a lifetime (maybe your last).

    January 17, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      Yea exactly the reason why I'll never take a cruise. EVER!

      January 17, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      Costa. Owned by Carnival, but the cultures couldn't be more different. I bet they'll become more similar after this, though.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
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