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. Jeff

    Once again we see a person holding a position of authority and responsibility who shouldn't be. The company CEO and persons who placed this man in this position should also pay for the "captains" lack of qualifications and actions.

    January 17, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. EcoJane

    Given to what happened on Wall Street over the past few years and the GOP's insistence on deregulating everything, we should instead give the captain a bonus and have the Italian citizens pick up the tab for building another boat!

    Meanwhile, the Italian captain issued a statement today: "Whoever put that 200,000 pound rock in the way of my cruise ship should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of Italian Law. I'm not responsible."

    Divers found the Rock that was sheared plus ship debris determining that the ship was a mere 300 feet off shore.

    January 17, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juggalo 6

      Let me guess. You are going to blame this on GW Bush too? What is wrong with your tiny little psychotic pea brain? You take a tragedy like this and start blaming someone who is half a world away? What is your problem? Seriously? Is the welfare and food stamps Obama is feeding you clouded your screwed up mind so much you mention the GOP in everything? A child was kidnapped today. OH, must be Bush's fault. Obama tripled the national debt today. Oh must be bush's fault. Do you really know exactly how stupid you sound playing your stupid mindless blame game? Do you crap yourself and blame Bush for that too? What even was your purpose of injecting American Politics into a Tragedy in Italy? You are messed up lady. Get a job Get a life Get over it already. Stop blaming Bush for everything.

      January 17, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • cbar

      Ecojane, that was a great reply, I loved it as any intelligent person would. Ignore jugheads comment, he has probably never ever watched a presidential debate, and would believe anything from a political shock jock telling him what to think.

      January 17, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • CT

      I'd love to hear how the GOP is responsible for what happened to a cruise ship FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY AND IN THE WATERS OF ANOTHER COUNTRY. Come on, Jane, you've displayed you have a first grade education, I'm sure you can do it!

      January 17, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. locomotif

    This guy needs throw his name into the GOP prez hopefuls.

    January 17, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. judgesmails

    Looks like the captain picked the wrong day to quit sniffing glue

    January 17, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • umm.....sure

      nice.

      January 17, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. locomotif

    All finger pointing and accepting no blame.

    January 17, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juggalo 6

      He's just going to blame Bush like another failure I won't mention Ahem *Obama *Ahem*

      January 17, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. locomotif

    Man! Carnival needs to issue a PR statement soon that indicates not all of their ship captains are a bunch of spoiled elites that knock women and children over to get to the first lifeboat.

    January 17, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Matt

    Capt. Picard is shaking his head.

    January 17, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. AtheistHuman

    Hell.. Im not Italian and De Falco makes me proud. The sh1tinno dude needs to hang. Moment of silence for those who lost their lives. This did not need to happen.

    January 17, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. R.

    Seems like the Captain went into shock! Not good for his position as Captain of a ship.

    January 17, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    This is just more proof of Italians being cowards.

    In WWII, 1 million Italian soldiers surrendered to 25,000 British troops.

    January 17, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Not all Italians are cowards, as is evidenced by the rescue workers that rushed in to help. As for the soldiers that surrendered during WWII, perhaps it was because they were smart enough to not want to die fighting for a fascist dictator.

      January 17, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Helena

      Italians are lovers, not fighters. My Greek grandparents who were under occupation during WWII always said that Italian soldiers just did not have their hearts in it like the German soldiers did. Surrendering wasn't cowardly, it was a smart way out of a horrible situation. Ciao!

      January 18, 2012 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  11. Mordechai

    How do you sink an Italian ship?

    You put it in water.

    January 17, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Terri Reed

    De Falco from the Italian Port Authority is my new hero. He chewed out the frightened capt ordering him back on board and to check how many children, women and special needs passengers there were.

    January 17, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Nuh

    I understand how someone could freeze up in a postion like that, but wow. Schettino sounded like a 4 yr. old who just got busted flushing his toys down the toilet. Sad to see loss of life.

    January 17, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Nancy

    All praise to De Falco!!!

    "So? Do you want to go home, Schettino? It is dark and you want to go home?"

    De Falco is a navy man. HE is a hero who would not leave any ship in the conditions that Schettino did. In the annals of naval history, we have a new goat... but his name is harder to pronounce than Hazelwood, unfortunately.

    For those of you making fun of the Italians in general... UNFAIR! Sooooo very uncool. Listen to De Falco and know that there are, most likely, tens of thousands of Italians like him that would give their lives before committing the crimes attributable to Schettino. Do we like it when people paint the U.S. as a whole based on some cowards actions? No.

    My deepest condolences to all that suffered this nightmare, and those that have lost loved ones as a result.

    January 17, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • JokeJustice

      I agree–De Falco could not believe the coward that Schettino was being. And then Schettino just keeps on babbling as though drunk.

      January 17, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. T. Kay

    What an idiot.

    January 17, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
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