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. nobody u know

    is it me... or the man sounded... not all there? was he intoxicated?

    January 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • JP

      As an American political issue, the cruise ship industry is an example of what happens when an industry tries to regulate itself, without government oversight.

      January 17, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • JP

      Any Italian will tell you that the captain's behavior is typically Italian. All Italian governments, national and local, all work the same way as this cruise line does.

      January 17, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • AnthonyG

      Dinner had just begun so he was probably still somewhat lucid. He's just your average, run of the mill coward.

      January 17, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mystereo

    Captain Chicken

    January 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. augustghost

    At some point the Italians will blame Amanda Knox for this

    January 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • katmoondaddy

      Is that supposed to be funny?

      January 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • AnthonyG

      foxy Knoxy is innocent!

      January 17, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maria Pia

      Sorry "augustghost" I'm Italian, but really I can't understand you,what does Amanda Knox with this tragedy? Please have respect for sad and tragic situations like these. The Italian people is fully broken and ashamed to have a person like this Captain (Schettino) among Italian citizens, but at the same time we are proud to have got many other citizens that are heroes like the inhabitants of the island of Giglio, the firefighters who have tirelessly worked night and day, the citizen like captain De Falco and many others. Unfortunately there are people all over the world that are good and people that are stupid. Please leave the Italian people in peace, we are already suffering so much for what happened, rather pray for the souls of the people who died. Thanks from Italy.

      January 17, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Guy

    If he was flung from the ship, he should have gotten back on. I get the he thought they could right the ship by fixing the ballast, but he should have realized they where taking on water, and started to get the passangers off the ship sooner.

    Howerver on the filip side, any life boats on the side of the ship that hit the water, would have caused more caualtys. You can call him a cowered if you want, but truly, if you dont have all the facts, please refrain from making outlandish comments....

    January 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • paco

      Flung from a ship and right into the lifeboat.... haha! How convenient.

      January 17, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. cecilia

    in the transcript De Falco said: get on board, d**k

    January 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. wolfie

    Don't mess with the Italian port authority!!...their reaction embodies the Coast Guard's commitment to the public. Hope the the commandant/port authority are recognized after this.
    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."
    I blew my drink all over the computer when i read this 🙂

    January 17, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      lol – agree. Although the situation is depressing, De Falco is seriously funny... Especially when he literally spells it out to the (drunk?) cowardly captain... I saw someone else say "badass". Perfect word.

      January 17, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jurby

    it disgusts me that someone who's obviously incompetent was ever allowed to captain any kind of ship in the first place. i hope this guy goes down for murder, not manslaughter, as his abandoning ship and saving his own skin was obviously more important to him than saving the lives of the thousands of passengers and crew members of the ship that he willingly and deliberately abandoned. i hope he gets skewered legally and spends the rest of his life in prison. he also needs to face not only the families of every dead passenger and crew member that has died due to his incompetence but also every surviving passenger and crew member and explain to them that he is entirely to blame for what happened and that he willingly and deliberately abandoned ship, leaving the passengers and crew members to save themselves.

    January 17, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bobby d

    just incredible!

    January 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dougaussie

    captain: just one more hand of blackjack...
    port authority: did you say blackjack
    captain: no no, its black outside...jack...
    port authority: how many dead bodies,
    captain: did you say 'i have a hot body'.
    port authority: get B.A.C.K ON .BOARD THE DAMN SHIP YOU IDIOT...
    captain: OK, my lifeboat has just come ashore in monaco, i'll head straight back...

    January 17, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. AnthonyG

    Schettino is a cowardly swine. He abandoned his vessel leaving many passengers and crew fending for themselves in the dark. He was probably very skilled at schmoozing with the passengers, especially the single women, but a failure in a crisis.

    January 17, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. cpc65

    I'll bet he was one of the first to a lifeboat shoving aside old people and kids on the way.

    January 17, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. sielingfan

    PTSD.

    Still, the captain's responsibility is the captain's responsibility, and explanation is not intended to be an excuse. At some point here Port Authority needed to put somebody else on the ship (I guess they did) and coordinate the response with their own personnel, because clearly the captain wasn't going to be a reliable resource.

    January 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Michael_chatt

    It's possible the captain was in shock. That's an awefully tall ship to get thrown off of and suddenly realizing people are deing and it's your doing would have to be very overwhelming. It might have also been a very hard thing to mangage, getting back on the ship that is, when it was turned over the way it was. I hope the Captain doesn't get destroyed simply because they can crush him if he doesn't deserve it. If he does then I hope they hold him justly accountable.

    January 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • AnthonyG

      He was in shock from too much ciantti

      January 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lean6

    The captain was in a lose-lose situation the moment the ship ran aground. If he were lying dead beneath the surface in one of the ship's spaces, it still wouldn't have been enough. If he assessed that he could do nothing else to save lives, and he didn't further endanger anyone by abandoning ship, there's no reason that he should have had to sacrifice himself for insatiable public blood lust.

    January 17, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • tunafingers

      But you've forgotten that he sent the ship off of it's designated course prior to this calamity. We haven't even gotten to the transcript for that. This captain is swine. Swine. Lest you forget, swine is a fowl beast.

      January 18, 2012 at 3:08 am | Report abuse |
  15. rallygirl

    With this guy at the helm, its amazing that anyone survived! The staff on board must have done something right or there would have been many more casualties...hard to understand why the lifeboat drill wasn't done BEFORE they even left the dock - when I went on a cruise we did it before we pushed off!

    January 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
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