January 17th, 2012
09:57 AM ET

'You get on board! That is an order!' cruise captain told

An Italian Coast Guard official swore in frustration at the captain of the stricken Costa Concordia after the ship hit rocks Friday night, ordering him at least 10 times to return to the cruise liner and coordinate rescue efforts, a transcript of the conversation published Tuesday shows.

Authorities in the port of Livorno seemed to believe the captain had abandoned ship with passengers still on board, a report in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Serra suggests.

"You get on board! This is an order!" the Coast Guard official instructed Capt. Francesco Schettino.

"You have declared 'Abandon ship.' Now I'm in charge. You get on board - is that clear?" the port official said.

Schettino says at one point that he wants to go back on board, then refers to "other rescuers" and says something about a lifeboat being stuck.

Italian prosecutors confirmed that the quotes match ones in a transcript they were using in their investigation.

The dramatic conversation was published as the captain faced a court hearing to determine whether he remains in jail while the investigation continues, and as divers continued desperate attempts to find survivors.

Navy explosives experts blew a hole in the hull of the vessel to allow access for search-and-rescue teams, Italian Navy officials said Tuesday.

At least 11 people were known dead as a result of the wreck, including five bodies located on Tuesday, according Coast Guard Captain Filippo Marini. Before the discovery, officials listed 28 people as missing.

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soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Andreas Moser

    For more profound analysis on the "Costa Concordia" evacuation: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/how-europe-welcomes-refugees/

    January 17, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    This captain should not be freed from jail for any reason at all.
    I have heard of some outrageous situations, but Schettino's behavior is at the highest level of cowardice and incompetence, as was his arrogance in causing the shipwreck.

    January 17, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. Reflecto

    An amazing combination of stupidity and cowardice. Unfortunately for him, the Coast Guard recorded the exchange. I wonder, how do you say "totally screwed" in Italian?

    January 17, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Sunchoker

      In Italian, totally screwed is "sfigato" or "incullato."

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

      I think the new word is, "Schettino."

      January 17, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bobcat (in a hat)©

    This captain deserves the harshest pnishment possible for his inactions. What a damn coward.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  5. BOMBO ©

    This behavior is not new. A lot of these captains just want to drive a boat around. They don't want to be responsible for other people's lives. From the Wikipedia article on the Oceanos sinking in 1991:

    "Captain Yiannis Avranas was accused by the passengers of leaving hundreds behind with no one other than the ship's onboard entertainers to help them evacuate. Avranas claimed that he left the ship first in order to arrange for a rescue effort, and then supervised the rescue effort from a helicopter. Avranas stated, "When I give the order abandon ship, it doesn't matter what time I leave. Abandon is for everybody. If some people want to stay, they can stay." "

    Well, apparently no abandon order was given, because:

    "Realizing the fate of the ship, the crew fled in panic, neglecting to close the lower deck portholes, which is standard policy during emergency procedures. No alarm was raised. Passengers remained ignorant of the events taking place until they themselves witnessed the first signs of flooding in the lower decks. At this stage, eyewitness accounts reveal that many of the crew, including Captain Avranas, were already packed and ready to depart, seemingly unconcerned with the safety of the passengers."

    Buyer beware. If you book a cruise, keep in mind that these Captains and crew often are out of their element if they need to deal with an actual emergency.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  6. James M

    It remains to be seen if the order to board a sinking ship (even given to the captain!) is a lawful order. I would suggest it may be attempted homicide. People have romantic ideas about seafaring men, but what's the applicable law in this situation? It may very well be the case that he could have been more effective in a coast guard vessel or even on shore, using radios, than trying to do anything on a crippled ship.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  7. Bubba™

    LMAO... I wonder, what part of-"GET ON BOARD THE F#%KEN SHIP" he did not understand?....

    January 17, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. alfranken

    Did Mussolini align with Hitler because he was a coward?
    Did general Patton roll through Italy with little resistance because the Italian army were cowards?
    Are Italian mafia's a collection of cowards that would probably pee on themselves before they take on someone there own size one on one with no weapons?
    Is this Italian Ship captain a coward?
    Is this all indicative to their heritage ? From my personal experience - yes.

    January 17, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      Just curious, do you people prefer to be called "bigot" or "racist" nowadays?

      January 17, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Do you have any clue as to what you're talking about?
      Judging from your post: no.

      January 17, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Platone

      @alfranken: generalization is the son of ignorance.

      January 19, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ravioli

      Did italian ancestors possess one of the largest empires ever known to mankind? Yes

      January 21, 2012 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
  9. EatAtJoes

    @alfranken
    Thousands of Italians were imprisoned or killed during the fascist regime because they did not follow Mussolini, were they cowards?
    Thousands of Italian partisans also fought the German army, were they cowards?
    Thousands of Italians have risked or lost their lives and livelihoods because they didn't kowtow to the Mafia, are they cowards?
    Is this ship captain a coward? Undoubtedly so, but he is not the first ship captain to have ever abandoned his ship when he wasn't supposed to.
    Do you sound like a racist? From what one can gather from your post here – yes.

    January 17, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. BoatingExpert

    As a weekend Captain of a nearly 16 foot pleasure boat, I can truly relate my fellow Captain leaving his ship in time of crisis. There's been more than a few times when I become drunk and ran my vessel into another. There REALLY ISN'T ANY POINT hanging around to answer questions.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |