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. francesco

    in italy like in all the world exist man's like schettino and Man's like De Falco:

    January 17, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • ComSenseWiz

      The Captain is going to be toast after they get done raking his a$$ over the hot coals. Maybe he'll save a lot of time and money and just put a bullet through his POS head.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  2. michael lampart

    Man,s biggest fear....... a Captain WHO is a coward left women and children on board ..think of all the other men and women who resk there lives to help those you left behind do the world a favor eat a gun

    January 17, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  3. mike

    Update from the ship......Alcohol makes people do stupid things

    Port Commander – Captain drop the whiskey bottle and get back on ship Damn it....... Do you hear me?

    Captain – I'm trying to but I can't stop throwing up....please make he world stop spinning.

    Port Commander – Are you telling me you're intoxicated

    Captain – No, I can usually handle the whole bottle...I should have eaten someting.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • vinnie

      you're right..people have to realize this guy was a "captain" of a cruise ship..a cruise ship..i don't know what the qualifications are but im sure his badge read, janitor/captain..his biggest worry was probably mopping up the vomit of loud obnoxious "sailors"..announcing buffet hours and quiet time after 2am..

      January 17, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. tlfaulkender

    The Captain's Purser was the last one taken off his ship, imagine that!

    January 17, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  5. Tom, Long Beach, California

    cruising is very safe......except when your captain is an idiot!

    January 17, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    Gavin McCleod is more of a Captain than this guy...

    January 17, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  7. J.Jerry Danielsson

    I second what 'coloradom' says. How in the whole wide world could a person like that get such job that carries such an enormous responsibility? A captain on a ship like this is almost next to God, all on board have their lives in the hands of such person. So its lots of considerations from the owners of the ship when employing a captain. Did he got his papers from a cereal box – or maybe even worser: something is very rotten with the Costa Cruise-line. The captain for sure will be nailed for lots of years behind bars – and some folks at Costa Cruise-line should make him company... he harsch?!? Naaah!!!! Never when it comes to the life of other people.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • doodlebug

      People like him get those jobs because the ones hiring him are probably 'no hands on' either, used to letting the hard workers pick up the slack and make the decisions when all hell breaks loose. Where were the contingency plans, the disaster recovery ... anything? It is so so very very sad that he does not even seem to understand what he did wrong or how he caused this.

      January 17, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dan

    Unbelievable.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  9. Guest

    Unbelievable, what a coward.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • rick

      Absolutely an amazing account of what transpired between captain and port authority. My mouth was open the whole time while reading. Thank God for the work of all the other passengers and remaining crew who stood by to assist those in need.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  10. Saboth

    Wow...I wonder how many lives could have been saved if he had taken command and not fled at the first sign of trouble. Oh well, his life is safe. I hope he enjoys prison.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  11. g

    wow. he actually did abandon them.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  12. Phil in Oregon

    This is hard to believe, but not so surprising any more. The world is becoming more and more selfish and self-serving all the time. Don't worry, the Bible says there will be times like these. Believe in God, He won't abandon you.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Crabs

      Right, because he doesn't exist. Cheers!

      January 17, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cedar Rapids

      oh jeez, this is a biblical prophecy come true now huh?

      January 17, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • lissa

      No your god wont abandon you!!! He'll just decide you are another experiment gone wrong and sent another flood to wipe everybody out again.

      January 17, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      God did a great job saving those people who died on the cruise ship in pitch black watery terror . . . oh wait, god only gets credit for the rescues right?

      January 17, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. George

    Wow, this guy Schettino is replacing Exxon's Hazelwood as the worst captain in recent history.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • rr

      what do you know about ships, captains and maritime stuff, in the first place?

      exxon valdez master did not screw-up anything – pilot disembarked few (nautical) miles BEFORE ship arrived at 'fairway buoy' so he can be home counting his money sooner (pilots are paid DOUBLE than captains with no responsability WHATSOEVER – keep reading!) and he was convenient scapegoat – pilot can not be blamed anyway!

      and this italian guy is DEFINITELY a disaster!

      January 17, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. gillo

    last Italians news telling there had been a sort of mutiny to start emergency evacuation before the captain took his decision ... to save passengers. That's why, I think, there was the idea of a confused crew.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  15. genovacentro

    Schettino knew immediatly he was in deep trouble, he saw his career and his life going to pieces and completely lost his control. I think that being this clear and evident someone of his staff had to remove him from his command and replace him immediatly.

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