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. GA Peach

    De Falco owned that Captain.

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

      Captain Picard would never have abandoned ship. He'd fire all phasers and photon torpedoes at swarming Klingon ships.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • us1776

      That was the most pathetic exchange between two professional commanders.

      It was like De Falco was talking to a 10 year old boy.

      .

      January 17, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Chris

    Cowardice (and poor navigation) is/are the clear culprit(s) here. What a fine captain.

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

    So what really happened? The world will likely find out in a trial or investigation of the captain. It appears that he assumed everyone left the ship when the abandon ship order was issued but he was wrong. Other people said in another report that some of the crew appeared not to know how to deploy the life boats. It sounds like a lack of effective training. These types of accidents are not common and people get complaisant. It looks to me like the company that was operating the ship is partly to blame. Training of this type has to be hands on not just "read this manual and pass this test".

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

      Hard to deploy life boats when the ship is lying on its side.

      January 18, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  4. Tcr c2

    What a flipping idiot how could he do this? He got his license( papers) to be a captain from a piece of note book paper. The last thing i would do is run from people in distress. I would stand to fight to get these people off. But how fast did it list? Its still no excuse!!! Ive been in a vesel that was sinking and it was scarey but yoiu do not panic or run from it. You cant run because its with you or (him) for the rest of your life, so why not just deal with it!!! I would not want to be in his shoes, an italian prison? Screw that! Seems to me that he did not train himself or his crew very well , where and when did they do any emergency drills incase of something like thie happens? Just imagine if they where to of completed training drills just before this trip, it should be mandatory for all global cruise lines to have monthly or bimonthly emergency training and pre employment safety training. My heart and thoughts go out to all people affected by this tragedy

    January 17, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      It's easy to sit comfortably in our homes and judge others for their actions. It's also easy to boast about what we would do were we in that persons shoes at that moment but it has been my experience that those who boast the loudest are the ones who turn and run when things get scary. It's sad when people die because of the mistakes of others but there is nothing to be gained by judging any of these people unless you have suffered through something equally traumatic. We are so fond of casting those stones and Mary if you want to see the worst of human nature look at the words you chose to write and then read the other negative and harshly judgmental posts others have made regarding the tragedy.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Matt

    I'm sure the Captain was acting rational. He didn't want his iPhone 4S to drown.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joy

      Hahahaha. Good one! What a coward...

      January 17, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Russ

    Reminds me of a Lina Wertmuller movie.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Yum!

    What kind of captain is that? Idiot! Kind of awkward translation, some of it doesn't make much sense - is the original an Italian transcript or audio?

    January 17, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marco

      The translation is almost perfect, from the original Italian audio, apparently.

      January 17, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Commandante Schettino

    I Am really angry about those comments! How dare you to say, I am a coward ?!? Listen, I was supervising the evacuation from land, this was important to do so, because on the boat, there was too much screaming and yelling! How am I supposed to concentrate on the real Issue? You know, how to save my own A$$... it worked out pretty well, for me ...

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

      How thick do you think we are?

      January 18, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. columbus

    I hope they nail this guy to the fullest extent of maritime law, only a coward leaves his ship before he has done everything in his power to protect his passengers and crew. That ship is still above water, that's where the captain should be, his ship wasn't and didn't go down. It also begs to question the quality of the people in control of a ship with over 4000 lives at stake.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jess

    captain stupidface really is a coward, a BIG F A T cowarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrd

    January 17, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joy

    How on earth did this guy end up as captain? Carnival needs to take a GOOD LONG HARD LOOK at what kind of people they've put in charge of their ships. I wonder what kind of people are running the ships for other cruise companies.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Coach Lew

    The ships Captain was indeed overcome with fear and was not able to focus on the entire situation. I don't believe he is a coward but I do think his ability to function under actual pressure in emergency situations has never been tested. Either way he will be held responsible for possible abandoning ship.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • columbus

      Not a coward????? I disagree, if he was just unfocused he would at the very least been onboard and ineffective! This guy jumped ship to save his own A$$.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Everyone wants to be a hero

      @Columbus, how do you know what he would have done? You weren't in his shoes and you don't know what was going through his mind. Most people react to emergency situations differently. Some people on this board calling this man a coward probably would've reacted the same way.

      January 17, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. OMG

    Good god, all the officers and the captain had left the ship before the crew and passangers?! I really hope there is death penalty in Italy. This is the man that should be hang for abodon his crew and those ppl that needed him. Also all the officers should get jail time. It's just incredible that none of the officers stay and help the rest of crew and passangers! it's easy to understand why Captain De Falco was so angery.

    Accident hapens, but a captain should take the responsibility for his crew and those under his care. It's basic honor code for any captain of any ship. Nobody expect an passanger liner's captain go down with his ship,but to leave his crew and passangers behind just to save him self first? May god mercy on his souls(if he ever had one)!

    January 17, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marco

      Luckily, we are civilized enough in Italy NOT to have death penalty. Since decades. Another death would not bring anything good.
      We leave death penalty to Taliban countries...

      January 17, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Anil

    Most top graduates from today's schools and colleges attain their peak through copying answers, plagiarizing research notes and sometimes even bribing decision making academicians. As a result the world has become filled with over-achieving under-achievers. Their true colours only come out in a moment of crisis.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. sap

    Commander De Falco shows to us that there are still real men in Italy

    January 17, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
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