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. Steven P

    There's your European work ethic.

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

      Perhaps he was late getting to his vacation. You never know three months off every year isn't quite enough especially when you may be delayed for an extra day.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Taught by American commercials.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • SebH

      well, there is some truth in this...
      but you have to be more precisely...these *southern*-European "dolce-vita" (Greece, Italy, Portugal) countries are responsible for all the decline of Economy... useless and pathetic...

      January 17, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cedar Rapids

      wow, european work ethic? really?
      dick.

      January 17, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bob O

    Mamas and daddys everywhere take heed. Teach your babies the one thing they will need most in this world. C-O-U-R-A-G-E.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • junebeaversbuttrash

      Teach childrans cougor rage, got it. Thanmks coweardy lion from wizards of ox.

      January 17, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dreamer96

    Is this Captain related to Ken Lay by chance..he uses the same management technique..

    January 17, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Disgusted 2

    The captain was up front drinking Italian wine and checking the year on it! it's all they're good for.

    Emergency what emergency1

    January 17, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. exCaptain

    As a retired NAVY veteran this is PATHETIC to witness. a Captain of the ship is the decision maker and the rightful duties with responsibility! How can you not know the number of your OWN people on YOUR ship and on top of that not make quick leadership decisions.... I would protect my ship and my people with my life!

    January 17, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Absolut420

      Thank you sir!

      January 17, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric of Reseda

      This NEVER would have gone down this way had it been a purely American or British (or certain other nationalities) operation.

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

      jesus h christ..it's a cruise ship..he's a captain of a cruise ship..his biggest worry was probably controlling drunken passengers..the germans weren't firing at him..how often does a cruise ship capsize..not giving any excuses here but it's disneyland here

      January 17, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • junebeaversbuttrash

      "I would protect my and my people with my life!"

      Translation: "I retired from the NAVY Chief Petty Potato Peeler Level 3. I would protect my potatoes and my potato peeler with my life!"

      January 17, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. cliff in tokyo

    I am trying to catch up on the news of this tragic event but each video is prefaced by a SAMSUNG video advert, if the world were ending and we wanted our last news updates would we have to watch adverts before learning we were about to die?

    January 17, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. charlie

    Oooooohhh! Someone's in trouuuuubbbbulllllllll!!

    January 17, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. us1776

    This horrible captain should never have command of any ship again in his life.

    A pathetic human being. Pathetic.

    .

    January 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dirk

    Anybody can immediately get who is the military man between De Falco and Schettino.
    I am positively sure that if Schettino were a Navy man, or had a military background, things would have gone in a totally different way.
    Not only on maritime competence, but also, and especially, on integrity, self-discipline, sense of duty and personal courage.
    Nobody knows how he will react in front of clear and present danger.
    Efficient reaction during a major crisis is not something you can learn on books, but it is hardly earned through experience in difficult situations, at first under the command of more experienced leaders, then – when through drill, discipline and repeated experiences you have learnt how to control panic – on your own or in a leading position.
    This is what you learn in the military.
    This is what Schettino never learned.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Absolut420

      Yeah I cant believe Schettino was all like "It's dark out here." De Falco was all like "so!" haha yes. thats how its done.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • junebeaversbuttrash

      For every lifer jarhead there are a million more dead beat ex military drunks. It's like saying us level headed civilian tax payers are useless. Go run your army on bravado and ego, comrade doofus.

      January 17, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dirk

      @junebeaversbuttrash "It's like saying us level headed civilian tax payers are useless".
      No, it's not. Drop the joint, read again and try to understand.
      I said that – thanks to the money kindly provided by the taxpayers – in the military you learn how to act under stress and distress.
      And because of that, experienced soldiers operate efficiently in very hard and life threatening situations.
      That doesn't always apply to civilians, who can be very well trained but until they find themselves in critical situations they cannot know how they react/act.
      As for bravado and ego...you know, it is hard to convince a 18 yrs old to happily give his life for his fellow countymen-taxpayers. You need to pump up the kid somehow, you know... exalting quaint qualities such as honor, loyalty, courage, comradship and so on works pretty well. If that offends you, I couldn't care less.
      Now you can take back your joint.
      Ant btw, yr ex-military drunk friends are civvies, not soldiers.

      January 17, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Give me a break

    Yes what he did is cowardly and his incompetence cause the lives of many but....how many of us would have GTFO off the ship? Sorry but you can't criticize someone until you yourself have been in that position.

    Not saying it's right, what I am saying is the dude obviously wasn't trained on how to conduct himself in emergency situations and you don't know how you would really act in that situation.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Absolut420

      If I wrecked my car I would make sure I got my kids out of the back seat. I wouldnt just hop out and run away from it...

      January 17, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Disgusted 2

      Than he shouldn't be the CAPTAIN of the ship!

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

      Listen, as a cruise passenger, I would be running to the life boats with my family. That is entirely appropriate. However, he was interviewed and selected for this position, first as a safety officer then promoted to a captain. He is not qualified or competent in that position if he does not have the courage and leadership to make sure his passengers and crew are safe in a disaster. Bad hiring on the part of the company for sure. You CANNOT hire a coward for this position.
      I am an ER doc, if I could not stay calm during the stress of a critical patient arriving in the ER, I should not be employed in that position, PERIOD! Doesn't mean I wouldn't make a good family doc or working in an urgent care. He was in the wrong position. He did not know himself and the company did not do its due diligence in hiring this buffoon. He will be ridiculed for life and probably spend some time in jail. Seems entirely appropriate.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lao from Asia

    Reading the dialogue of what took place makes my blood boil and makes me want to beat up that cowardly captain! He's beating around the bush and asking questions back when he should be the one with exact answers. If I see him outside, I'd at least throw a punch at him! I feel so sorry for the affected families...

    January 17, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • JuneCleaversBeaver

      Watch it tough guy he make take your milk money and the dog sandwich Mamsan made you.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • junebeaversbuttrash

      hahahaha!

      January 17, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Chris

    Unbelievable conversation.

    Imagine if Sullenberger had abandoned his passengers and parachuted out of his plane right away when the engines died, instead of trying to safely land in the river!

    Carnival Cruises needs to be more careful about who they hire to captain their ships!

    January 17, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • llkwaigone

      And Captain Sullenberger walked his plane twice in chest deep water to make sure no-one else was left aboard, before he was the last man out and the last man rescued. Good for you sir.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Luck

    Cazzo translates as "F-U-C-K !"

    January 17, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ann

    The fact that the crew was not American has no bearing. Arguing that only an American crew would have acted differently is bigotry. Unfortunately, too common lately in my country. Obviously, Mr. De Falco acted responsible and competent and he is not American. Moreover, many Americans are of Italian descent and most known to me are very competent and responsible. The ship had irresponsible, and from what it appears ,cowardly leaders which acted in a self-serving manner to save their own lives. I would venture to say, based on my experience, that we Americans have such leaders as well. These vices can, unfortunately, be found among all peoples.

    My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of passengers who could not be saved. Once fact has been deliniated from fiction, I am very certain Italians, like Mr. De Falco,will ensure that individuals who were irresponsible will be punished.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. EricTheEngr

    Captains that would have done a better job than Schettino: Stubing, Crunch, Kangaroo

    January 17, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Absolut420

      haha nice

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

      Only Issac the bartender would have jumped into the lifeboat as quickly as this guy did.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
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