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."


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

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


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."


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..."


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.."


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."


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. ssidd

    if he got thrown off the deck when ship capsized how the hell was he supposed to get back on the ship,there's no way
    he could climb the ladder like port authority ordered him to with all those people coming down.do you really think they would
    stop trying to get off so he could climb up.they would just kick him out of the way,that's what i'd do.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • CommonSense

      I don't see anything about the Captain saying he is unable to get back onto the ship because people are coming down from the ladder.

      Quit trying to "think different". You just look like an idiot.

      January 18, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Summer

      @CommonSense....Actually, if you read the transcription in it's entirety, the captain does say that there were people coming down the ladder and that's why he couldn't climb up (It's one of the many excuses he gives). Try reading it again for comprehension. Not agreeing with what the captain did, but you're the one that looks like an idiot.

      January 18, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • thinksome1

      may have some common sense but no reading comprehension. Way to shoot him down summer

      January 18, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barbara in Harrisburg PA

      Did no one read it? NO WHERE did the captain say that he couldn't climb up because people were climbing down....the Port Authority and the Coast Guard TOLD him that people were climbing down.

      He didn't know jack about the state of the ship or the rescue/evacuation, because he was nowhere NEAR that boat.

      January 19, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • lordpet

      He was on land getting into a taxi. That is why he could not climb on board

      January 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • lordpet

      Anyway, why would he be putting people in lifeboats and not coordinating from a central area? The Captain doesn't lead the rescue from the lifeboat davits. How could he see what is going on from there? How could he communicate with the rest of the crew or receive information from runners if the electronics are out if he's standing in the middle of a panicked horde of escaping passengers? He didn't "fall" anywhere: he left. It took an off duty Captain to coordinate the rescue. What a disgrace.

      January 19, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Schettino didn't know that the rescuers had night vision and could see everything from the sky. His lies were pretty obvious in that respect when he claimed he couldn't go back.

      January 19, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sarge

    Like Franklin Hart said in "9 to 5", "You think I'm gonna spend four weeks of my life drifting around on that dago boat?"

    January 18, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  3. CommonSense

    Too bad all the passengers weren't "catapulted into life rafts" -_-

    Please tell me nobody actually believes this garbage....

    January 18, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • thinksome1

      Nobody believes that garbage. He bailed out on his responsibility. He has a slim arguement about the real need for him to help evacuate, but that is not where his responsibility lies. I would go down with the ship. Under the conditions he was in, he would survive in the water just fine. Guarantee he had on his life gear.

      January 18, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • lordpet

      His duty is to stay on the bridge as long as possible so he can coordinate the evacuation. He needed to be in a central location where people would know where to find him to give him info so that he could turn around and give orders. His pitiful excuses are all about what a hero he was. Apparently the off duty Captain who ended up running the evacuation was in no danger of falling overboard. Where was Schettino? Vada a bordo caxxo!

      January 19, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • crmn

      What a coincidence! The second and the third officers in command fell in the same boat, at the same time too!

      January 19, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      The last time something like this happened, the Greek captain and his crew left the ship, and the lounge singer and the band had to coordinate the air rescue of the passengers, I kid you not.

      January 19, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. CommonSense

    I am just visualizing what happened here –

    EVACUATION – GET TO LIFE BOATS: The Captain running to the life boat screaming, "ME FIRST! ME FIRST! ME FIRST!"

    January 18, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • buddhabill

      he thought he heard someone say women and chickens first...

      January 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. CommonSense

    The Captain probably thought he was sailing alone on their private yacht and could just do what he did.

    The Captain may not have gone down with the ship, but he will go down in history as a piece of sh%#.

    January 18, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Captain R Johnston

    Isn't it so easy for us to condem and judge upon media presentation? I do not profess that the Master is completely innocent of all of the charges levelled against him. I do not believe him to be a coward nor someone trying to evade capture nor responsibility. I speak not as a gumboat "Captain" but as someone who has had the privilige to command a modern passenger vessel. Captain Schettino was almost assuredly very knowlegable about his vessels stability criteria.
    Modern ships are built (at considerable extra expense) to ensure that they will neither capsize nor sink given perhaps two or more "compartments" are breached to the sea. Given this assurance from shipbuilder and Flag State, I can only wonder upon this Masters good judgement. Imagine, if you will, being barely aware of grounding (I am sure that noise/movement of vessel was barely perceptable). Realising that the ship was developing a list ..... this should not happen ????? How many of us could reach such a quick and monumentous decision to "beach", knowing with certainty that such a fine vessel be destroyed and yet less forthcoming with the forsight that it may save the lives of thousands. Captain Schettino a coward?? Until you know else, he may well be a hero. R J

    January 18, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • thinksome1

      He gets high marks for running the ship aground, many more would have been lost if at depth to entirely submerge the ship. However, he broke the cardinal rule. He will be held accountable for that. In the transcripts, he did not sound like a hero. Hero's are like the guy who stood beside me in the submarine when it was 300 feet underwater and On fire. He entered the burning compartment, even though we were all scared to death. FIRE IN THE OXYGEN GENERATOR. (READ A BOMB ON FIRE)

      January 18, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barbara in Harrisburg PA

      He's no hero. He was doing a "fly by" which was all fun and games until this yahoo swung in too close.

      This "grounding" was HIS FAULT, so to even IMPLY he might he a hero is beyond the pale.

      I hope they throw the book at him. The REAL heros are the Coast Guard and Port Authority who attempted to hold this "captain's" feet to the fire.

      January 19, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      If you damage a cruise ship, you know it immediately. The crew below will report it. Its actually pretty hard to ground one because these large vessels are flat on the bottom, so they can go into relatively shallow water.
      I think Schettino was hitting the Lambrusco a little too heavy at dinner and did some drunk driving later that evening.

      January 19, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Libro Fernandes

    Capt should have stay onboard untill the end of evacuation process, help the last passenger at the Master station to board the Life boat... Then he would have been a Hero..

    January 18, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Az

    What a fcking PSSY "captain"!!! WOW, just WOW. Can't believe this is even real it's so out of this world.

    January 19, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  9. Samuel Getaneh Bogale Calgary Alberta

    Incredible tragedy and humiliation for the Captain of the ship!

    January 19, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Rick

    Classifieds: Italian Ship Captains wanted...no experience necessary.

    January 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Nick

    RE: Common Sense
    I couldnt agree more. That captin is a liar and a coward, and so are all of his officers. "CATAPULTED INTO THE LIFE BOAT" Give me a break. He should of been one of the bodies found, not the helpless passengers expecting their captain to help them .But he was already off the ship with his officers, joking about how fast he got off the ship.

    January 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. tracey ratchford

    ive read a couple of pages of comments...some ppl said he was a coward and some said that we need to walk in his shoes etc... the truth of the matter is he was the captain and in charge of his ship and crew. also the safety of his passengers. the facts are in plain view he left he passengers for dead and made sure he was safe end of story...

    January 19, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. warhorse1

    The vessel was a vacation cruise ship, not a war vessel. is it possible the captain didnt go down with the ship because of tha?t. He didnt feel his spirit inexorably intertwined with ship. Even that said, the captain of the ship should stay to make sure all passengers are safely off, and the rest of his duties.

    January 19, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. warhorse1

    the captain of the ship must have really been ignorant in a time of crisis, otherwise this story would be obsolete by now.

    January 19, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. southern

    Vacationing in a luxury cruise is a hot topic at my workplace. I guess there are many hidden prices in taking one.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
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