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. sandi

    that must have been the trip straight to hell. where did they get this captian from the cartoons??? I hope he burns in hell!

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

    My opinion is that its the way of today..
    The passengers are complaining the crew didn't help.. Yet the passengers were screaming and running over each other doing the "every man for himself " routine themselves..
    Its actually kind of sad all the way around, it's nothing more than a video of human nature at it's worst.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • columbus

      If left to their own devices, there will be chaos and panic, but a crew is supposed to be trained to handle emergencies and attempt to keep order. But a crew needs a leader who is in control of the shipwide emergency and they get their direction from so that everyone has a chance to survive.

      January 17, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • sebby66

      I sailed on this cruise ship when it was inaugurated and the security drill done in the beginning of the long trip is a farce to say the least. They showed and told nothing to us, and did a drill that amounted to nothing and where many passengers were just leaving as nothing was happening. The Company is responsible and the Captain should be prosecuted at the fullest.

      January 17, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bill

    The conversation would be funny if it wasn't so tragic.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sue

    "Oh captain, my captain!"
    Wow. Talk about a man worthy of zero respect! I thought that captains (especially of large vessels like this) had to work up the ranks. Maybe I'm just completely naive. How can someone in charge of so many lives be so completely inept??

    January 17, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Commandante Schettino

    Listen, I don't know how to explain this, i was on top of the ship, coordinating the evacuation and analyzing the failure of the navigation computer and charts, then suddenly, I slipped and fell ... down, not into the water but into a rescue boat. and then I tried to climb up the ladder but it was to slippery and cold ... sorry ... aren*t we all Italians – ehhm – humans?

    January 17, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. pathetic

    Now thats an example of an *Italian* "commandante"...

    first a completely useless, illegal manoeuvre and then ... a coward and pathetic behavior... I feel sorry for all those who suffer from this accident...

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

      De Falco is italian too...and behaves as a brave and honest Captain, as everyone could notice.
      For every "idiot-Schettino" there is a "De Falco" in every country of the world.
      So, why are you so "Pathetic" in declaring is all a question of "italianess"??
      Look back at your crap , and respect this tragic moment of my country.
      Do you know that there was a passenger on the ship, an italian policemen on holidays, who got stuck in the ship with a broken leg, while trying to rescue other passengers from all nationalities???
      You know that???
      It 'easy to portray Italy as" pasta pizza and no one wants to work", but think about your problems, which are enough!

      January 17, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Commandante Schettino

    Why is Commandante Schettino only 5 feet tall? Because, in his childhood, his mother said: "When You grow up, you have to take responsibilities" ...

    January 17, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Commandante Schettino

    How fast can an italian Battleship cruise? 45 knots. But only one knot forward while 44 knots on retreat ...

    January 17, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Earnest T Bass

    Schettino is the poster child of idiocy. turn him over to Nancy Grace. That is all, carry on.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Commandante Schettino

    How can the EU avoid more Africans to reach Lampedusa Island? Send them a ship with Commandate Schettino on board...

    January 17, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sherry

    Yeah I really want to go on a cruise now! LOL

    January 17, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Earnest T Bass

      I'll go with you, But I get the window.

      January 17, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. KM

    ...a movie star. The professor and Mary Ann....

    January 17, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tron

    I'm Spanish, This is not about nationalities, I think this Captain is a coward, the Captain always is the last of leave a ship.
    I'll dead if it's necesary

    January 17, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. yo..

    What do you expect form Italians, queens, querer...

    January 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luck

      At least italian soldiers don't urinate on enemy corpses

      January 17, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duck Dodgers

      God bless ITALY !!!!!

      January 18, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jay

    You have to read this to believe it! This is right out of a comedy script!
    Where do they train the ship captains?

    January 17, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
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