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. junebeaversbuttrash

    Schittato "But it's dark and cold here, commander"

    De Falco (sipping latte from heated control room with 5 monitors, 4 of which are broadcasting boobies in 1081i) : "But it's cold and dark, I'm so afraid. (sips latte, makes sour face, pours in more sugar). Listen, Captain, I'm about as tough as they come. You think I'm tough over this intercom, wait until you see me online. Or worse, on XBOX. I will OWN you in MW2. Quick scope, no scope!"

    January 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anchorite

      Oh, I read the transcript and I must have missed the spot where it talked about de Falco sipping a latte in a heated control room. I also missed the part where in his own passed service record he abandoned a ship because he rammed it into some rocks and got his passengers killed. I also missed the part where Schettino would have gotten back on board on his own and done his duty if not for de Falco's hypocrisy.

      January 17, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grasshopper

      Nice try, son of Schettina.

      January 18, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    VergognaSchettina said, politely translated, that the captain has to stay on the ship until the end, and whether he was spoken to nicely or not, being rubbed (fregare) the wrong way doesn't change anything.

    January 17, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ajay Kotta

    I agree with MARK.Price of share is only relevant.While the captain of the ship owns full responsibility, the company operational heads should roll and criminal investigation should follow for hiring such a inexperienced CAPTAIN to manage a ship of that size..

    January 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. L. Smith

    The company is to blame, period.

    January 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sal

      El Capitan is a coward. The captain always goes down with the ship unless he's a coward.

      January 17, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Anonymous

    I believe that in our society in the recent decades so called "soft-skills" are stressed a lot.
    Unfortunatelly our society and employers overlook increasingly the required hard-skills for a job.
    Somehow I have the feeling Captain Schettino got this job because of "soft-skills".

    What I absolutely dont like, "women and children". Its seems that life of men count less. Men do not seem to have special needs by the authority. Its time that changes.

    January 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      "soft skills" – do you have to make everything a political issue? Where is your sense of chivalry? Nature programmed Men to protect women and children. Our brains are hard wired for this. And "special needs" means both men, women and children. So you must never miss a chance to take a shot at what you view as politically incorrect language, even in the midst of a horrible tradgedy where people lost their lives?

      January 17, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anna

      Also the issue here is "family", and entire families were one board, travelling together, and needed to stay together. A Mom and 2 kids, the Dad needs to be there to help their self-rescue, so I totally believe that. The age old chivalrous issue you take issue with – of women and children first, well, in a community where men are men and heroes and take care of the weaker without being ordered to do so, those days are long gone. It shouldn't have to be told, but elderly men needed to be first too, and all strong able bodied men AND WOMEN should have stepped back and helped all those who truly needed it. Without having to be told. But that would require humanity and decency to rule the day, and that's long gone too. Bottom line is if you get on a ship the size of a small city, for peanuts, it will likely be run by small minded corporate hoods, scamps, cowards, con artists, losers, whiners, whiperers dragged in from the stench filled end of the human gene gool.

      January 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anchorite

      He was mentioning women and children to spur Schettino into action out of a sense of moral obligation, not because they were the only ones important. It was clear by then that Schettino was going to refuse a direct order, and in such cases on an appeal to higher values can work. However, in cases of children and special needs people they will need help and are not able to climb large ladders or otherwise abandon ship on their own.

      January 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Number of women and children are relevant because they may not have the strength to get to the lifeboats when the ship is keeled over that far, so may need extra assistance.

      January 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Goombah

      I used to work for a boss that refused to allow us to write "women and children" in any accounts. His argument was, "do grown men die any deader?"

      January 17, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • tracy

      Anna, very nicely put. but then then you surely have a good view of everything from the near top of the gene pool. And I am being sincer.

      January 17, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grasshopper

      You dont like woman and children ?

      January 18, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Anna

    I reviewed many customer reviews going back several yeras, of this particular cruiseship and it is clear there has been a 2 year long deterioration of service, personnel, procedures, adherence to proceduers, refusal of the crew to maintain decent service levels, refusal of the administration to rectify/reimburse shoddy to shocking passenger treatment, and quite telling, entire 1,000 strong crews hate their jobs. Assigning blame when so many are dead is small comfort, but the top mgmt, the captain (Shettino is new global swearword) to the last waiter who pushed passengers out of their lifeboats filled with crew – all are to blame. The days of this sort of five and dime cruises hopefully, are over.

    January 17, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Anna

    I bet any homeless, cold, hungry HUMAN would have done the right thing and gone in to save those poor people. The problem is so many mistake Shettino for a HUMAN. Who hired him?

    January 17, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. T

    Informed Speculation: The ship captain attends the nightly formal dinner in his white dress uniform. Around the Captain's Table are four or five lucky couples enraptured by his uniform and tales of the sea. The wine flows, followed by Port and finished with a few bottles of champagne. At around 10pm, the Chief Steward (on direction of the Chief Mate) suggests (rather emphatically) to the Captain that he retire for the evening. Hanging on the Steward, the Captain stumbles down the hall to his cabin and falls face forward onto his bed. He awakes to the sound of alarm bells and in his confusion finds a lifeboat. The rest, as they say, is History....and a great case study in failed leadership.

    January 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Get back on board!

    It's a freaking ship that's sinking, not a bucking bronco. You don't just get thrown off and get right back on again. Sheesh.

    January 17, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sage Advice

      That's just what my dad used to tell me; "Son, when a 114,000 GWT ship bucks you off, you just go and get right back on immediately, or you'll be afraid of megaships all your life!"

      January 17, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • T

      It is not enough for a man to know how to ride; he must know how to fall. Shettino didn't get that lesson.

      January 17, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    Don't blame all Italians for a shipwreck, or think that they are all cowards.
    Italians are possibly the kindest and most generous people in the world: la gente piú simpatica del mondo, as I wrote here recently. They are generally very strong and calm in adversity, although they are also accustomed to singing big, beautiful high notes to express themselves, which is something I enjoy.
    BTW, I am not of Italian descent. I just love that country and plan to retire there.

    January 17, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ludovica

      "Don't blame all Italians for a shipwreck, or think that they are all cowards"
      Don' blame Italians?!? And why would you do that?? Just because one idiot-schettini is a coward? And what about other captain? he behaves well, He's italian.
      And what about the italian policeman passenger who broke his leg , without being able to move more from the ship, trying to save the others?? you are very offensive and ignorant if you think that Italians are all like that idiot-Schettini.
      You know what? Italian doctors swear to do everything possible to save patients, and they do.
      American doctors do when patients pay the insurance, otherwise not.
      Who are the real men now?
      Our country is in crisis for the money we give to health, because it is a right, and YOU TOLD US we are to blame?!?
      .......mmmmmh

      January 17, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Captain-a non sequitur Schettino

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

    Schettino: "Pasta Fazul!"

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

    Schettino: "I breaka yo face!"

    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: "I makea him an offer he can't refuse."

    De Falco: "Huh?"

    Schettino: "Tonight dey sleepa wit da fishes!"

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

    Schettino: "Oh, Pauli, you won't see him around here no more!"

    De Falco: "Huh?"

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

    Schettino:"When the sway of her hips is-a like two battleships, that's amore!

    De Falco: "Huh?"

    Schettino:"la dolce vita, 'ey?"

    January 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sal

      The captain is your typical greaseball from the Joisey Shore

      January 17, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. T.rex

    what difference does the answer to any of those questions even mean? How many women, how many children? What... are you just gonna send the exact amount of rescue vessels? What more could Shettino do?

    January 17, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • T

      Probably has a Ferrari, a closet full of designer suits and pretty shoes and lives with his momma.

      January 17, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      He could have coordinated the evacuation. People said it was chaos, and in chaos people will naturally follow those in uniform. That's why crew wear uniforms.

      January 17, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sal

      He could have made pizza for the midnight snack

      January 17, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grasshopper

      His Job.

      January 18, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bubba™

    LMFAO...... I wonder, what part of,-..."GET ON BOARD THE F#@KEN SHIP".... He did not understand.......lol

    January 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Willie

    If I was one of the survivors in the water or a lifeboat and saw the captain in his own lifeboat while over 100 people were trapped on board, it would have gone like this:

    Coast guard: Get on the boat
    Captain: I don't want to
    Coast guard: Get on the boat now and tell us what needs to be done!
    Captain: But the boat is tilt-UUGH
    Coast guard: The boat is what? SPEAK LOUDER
    Captain: This guy just punched me in the face!

    January 17, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. TampaRichard

    According to maritime law THE CAPTAIN is responsible. At sea, the captain IS the company. It is counterproductive to blame the company at this point. THE CAPTAIN is the absolute and final authority at sea. That is THE LAW. It is THE CAPTAIN who is responsible. The only company fault might have been in hiring the coward.

    January 17, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
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