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. SixDegrees

    Not that I think it would do any good, but has anyone considered tossing a knife into the captain's cell while he's cooling his heels? Just, you know, in case he needs it.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • kit8

      He will probably use it to attack the guards and get out.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • James M

      There are tug pilots in New Orleans who would make infinitely better ship captains than this moron.
      It occurs to me that this American ship not only has a foreign crew, but an incompetent, murderous crew at that. Here are unqualified foreigners doing jobs that "Americans won't do", and I'm pretty sure that's because Americans were never even considered for those jobs.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. IL POLEMICO

    LA TELEFONATA ......BUFFONI...... MI SEMBRA CHIARO CHE IL COMANDANTE SCHETTINO STIA CERCANDO DI SPIEGARE LA SITUAZIONE E IL COMANDANTE DELLA CAPITANERIA DI PORTO NON SI RENDA CONTO CHE DOPO AVER SABRCATO PIU DI 4000 PERSONE E CON LA NAVE INCLINATA DI 80 GRADI E DIFFICILE DARE LA SITUAZIONE ....... VUOLE SAPERE IL NUMERO DEGLI UOMINI DONNE E BAMBINI E CHE STAMO ALL UNAPARCK SI RENDE CONTO CHE LUI E DIETRO AD UNA SCRIVANIA E SCHETTINO STA INMEZZO AL MARE .....ORDINA ....DI TORNARE A BORDO .....PERCHE NON CI PROVAVA LUI .....VERGOGNATI DI PARLARE IN QUEL MODO A SCHETTINO

    January 17, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Absolut420

      This is america. speak american. and I google translated this and it seems you are an idiot and you are gonna defend the captain of the ship. he is an idiot and so are you. I'm sure he took an oath a long time ago to help the people on his ship and not abandon them even if it cost him his life. it was his ship and his responsibility to not wreck it. once he wrecked it he left before most of the other people even got off the ship. in America we call that a coward. you should be invaded...

      January 17, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • VergognaSchettino

      Ma che vergogna?

      "...E SCHETTINO STA INMEZZO AL MARE-"

      E Schettino non ci doveva stare in mezzo al mare! Il capitano deve rimanere a bordo fino alla fine dell'evacuazione, punto e basta. Che poi li abbia parlato in modo cortese o no, non me ne frega un cazzo. Non cambia niente al fatto che il dovere di un capitano e di rimanere a bordo fino ad'assicurarsi che tutti i passegeri sono stati evacuati...

      January 17, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • LandOfTheWhatNow

      @Absolut420 this is the Internet, not America...

      January 17, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • AbsoluteIdiot

      Since when is "american" a language??

      January 17, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Zizewitz

      Absolut 420

      Lets not expand the language issue. The guy is most probably in Italy not able to WRITE in English

      But I understand Italian and you are right, he is trying to make excuses, as DE STUD further below.
      Fact is that DE FALCO understtood perfectly the situation by instructing him to clim the rope ladder on the side wher the dstance to to board was short.. Manslaughter is when killing is not intentional. Here, this is Murder!!

      January 17, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Absolut420

      dangit, here in Texas we speak american. they speak english in England. and though I am tired of google translating italian posts I whole heartedly agree with the other Italian guy. captain of the ship since the beginning of time will go down with it.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zizewitz

      Absolut 420 (language American??)

      Your highly intelligent remark is so great, that pls. disclose your E-Mail to be able to contact and congratulate you!!

      January 17, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luck

      Un bel tacer non fu mai scritto.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • zedr

      Schettino, is that you?

      January 17, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • da bears

      @Absolut420.
      This is an international site and people can speak any language they want. Your comment about how Italy should be invaded is about as ignorant as it gets. It's comments like that that make Americans unpopular. Just a little tip for you, if you cancel your internet you'll have more money for whiskey, just a thought.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luck

      @Absolut420
      The Cavalese cable car disaster of 1998 (as distinct from a cable car disaster in the same location in 1976), occurred on 3 February 1998 near the Italian town of Cavalese, a ski resort located in the Dolomites, some 40 km (25 mi) northeast of Trento. The disaster, which led to the death of 20 people, occurred when a U.S. military plane cut a cable supporting a gondola of an aerial tramway.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cavalese_cable_car_disaster_%281998%29

      January 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • hughjurgan

      IL POLEMICO, Vaffanculo

      January 17, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jye75

      Hey Absolut420, you're the one who's demonstrated that you're an idiot. You realize that cnn.com is international, do you not? Go suck an egg and stop being so ignorant. "Speak American"? Really??? It's called English, moron.

      January 17, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Simone

      PEZZO DI IDIOTA. He should never have pass from there.

      January 17, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • lissa

      In response to the 'speak american' I am an american and married to an english man, even he says that what is spoken in america should not be classed as english, the differences between american english and english is very vast.
      And absolut240, there is also a difference between an american and a texan as well

      January 17, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Val_Id

    what a pathetic display of gross effeminacy and total lack of inclination on ‎​Ð respnsibilities of a Captain, living dose helpless souls in ‎​Ð lurch..I think ‎​Ðis should go as lesson 2 ‎​Ð authorities in properly checking dose dey work with..May ‎​Ð souls of evry life lost RIP.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. kit8

    Schettino is reflective of what our leaders today are. They rise to positions of authority and respect because they are well liked but also very incompetent. Schettino abandoning ship with his officers are the worst of the lot. CEOs who take golden parachutes while their companies sink in red ink are just as bad. Schettino will start being used to mean
    abandoning ship with men, women and children on board to save oneself or if you are a CEO of a sinking ship taking a golden parachute on the way out.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>Schettino abandoning ship with his officers are the worst of the lot.

      Sadly the picture will tell it all. The coward will live and see the sun on his face. It was a time when such were held by shame and pride but now it is easier to walk away.

      Also with so many countries now up to 1st world status, this guy could emigrate away to another country and disappear as if nothing happened.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • IndyJim

      Just read the transcripts, I am in shock to tell you the truth. he abandoned ship before his passengers did. His grandchildren will get to know him when they watch the movie of what happened, what a schmuck.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • James M

      Would it have destroyed this American company to hire an American crew for their American cruise ship? I hope this ends the Carnival cruise line.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Zizewitz

      What you state is factual in the case of some CEO's
      The majority nevertheless normally do not abandon ship until its sinks, but then cash their GoldenParashute. Which, even if less outrageous as what SCHETTINO did, is outrageous enough!!

      January 17, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Canuck

      New verb as in "I Schettinoed my pants when the tiger came at me"

      January 17, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Brewmaster

    De Falco is a total stud. Sounds like such a bad@ss!!!

    January 17, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Cowardly Yanks

      You mean DUD

      January 17, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  6. Brooke Knoll

    I had a horrible experience on board of another Costa ship under the command of an Italian captain back in December 2007. The captain literally sailed the 4000+ passenger ship through the middle of a cyclone called Olga... when most ships went around or changed iteneraries. We thought we were going to die as the ship battled winds of 45-60mph... and huge waves... It sounded like every nut and bolt was coming undone....At times it felt like the ship was going to fall on it's side... and we knew that if that happened in that kind of storm we wouldn't have survived as we were in very deep waters ... life boats had no chance of surviving those kinds of waves and rescue by air would have not been possible either. People were saying their last prayers. I firmly believe that was very recless leadership on the part of the captain putting thousands of lives in danger..... since then we don't sail on Costa.... seems Carnival's policies don't extend to them ...

    January 17, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • JuneCleaversBeaver

      Thankfully you were able to reclaim your luggage and makeup after such a harrowing experience. You poor dear. It must have been frightful for you.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mark from Middle River

    Somewhere Benito Mussolini just smiled because a new most hated in Italy has just been crowned for a new generation.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  8. wickdsmart

    A Cowardly Captain – The Captain remains with the ship until all are safe or embarked !!! There need to be regimented psychological testing of 1st officers prior to risking 4,500 lives. I would question the process for selecting officers, training for the above stated, and evidence of each test required. It appears that no audits were performed to evaluate the effectiveness of their training or emergency disaster routines. Carnival should be ashamed to put a cowardly monster at the helm of a billion dollar cruise ship, risking 4,500 lives.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  9. CLEpost

    Incredible cowardice. No punishment too severe for this poor excuse for a human being. Lots of blood on his hands.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. Doug

    I would never... n.e.v.e.r. take a cruise.. After this mess, I would never let these idiots put my life in their cowardly hands !

    January 17, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  11. Brownstain

    Was there a pizza hut sign on top of the ship?

    January 17, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • CLEpost

      Sorry, you lost me there.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  12. dorothy

    Well as you can see being human is only being a human. He was chicken the poor people that depened on him he let them down he was being only human he let his self down too.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  13. END ALL B ALL

    I like Italian food.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  14. cliff in tokyo

    I have never heard of a STEM of a ship, do they mean THE STERN?

    January 17, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Absolut420

      lmao!

      January 17, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luck

      Because you are ingorant

      January 17, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luck

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_%28ship%29

      January 17, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duck Dodgers

      Sticks and stems.
      What the captain was smoking.

      January 18, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  15. 2BLBJJ

    This cruise ship can tragically be included with the old, bandied, and yet still poignant joke about Italian WWII rifles for sale: great condition, never used, sunk/dropped once.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zizewitz

      @2BLBJJ

      Or the WW2 Libya campaign Joke: Italian tanks have 3 speads forward and , the most important!!1 spead backwards

      But seriously: This is certainly not general in the Italian Character. As an ugly example, take the Maffia "soldiers"

      \My father at WWI was an Austrian young soldier in the Italian Alps and as he told me, they were anything other than cowards!! In WWII, they were not enthusistic to fight the British for the sake of their by then italian Libyan colony!!

      January 17, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
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