ROME Jan 17 The Italian coast guard
angrily ordered the captain of the capsized Italian cruise ship
to go back aboard to oversee the evacuation, But he did not,
according to a recording of their dramatic exchange played on
The recording reflected the chaos and confusion in the
minutes after the Costa Concordia, carrying more than 4,000
passengers and crew, hit a rock off the Tuscany coast on Friday
night and keeled over.
Captain Francesco Schettino, who had already taken to a
lifeboat, can be heard talking to Gregorio De Falco, a coast
guard official based in the western Italian port of Livorno.
Eleven people have been confirmed killed and 23 are still
De Falco later gave an interview to a local newspaper in
Livorno in which he said he could tell by the "tone of the
captain's voice" that something was very wrong. Schettino's
lawyer said he would not comment.
The recording is full of background noises such as radio
static, beeps and background noise of people and confusion.
As translated by Reuters, the entire conversation went as
Coast Guard: Hello.
Captain: Good evening, chief.
Coast Guard: Listen, this is De Falco from Livorno. Am I
speaking with the captain?
Captain: Good evening, Chief De Falco.
Coast Guard: Tell me your name, please.
Captain: I am Captain Schettino, chief.
Coast Guard: Schettino?
Coast Guard: Listen, Schettino. There are people trapped on
board. Now, you go with your lifeboat. Under the bow of the
ship, on the right side, there is a ladder. You climb on that
ladder and go on board the ship. Go on board the ship and
get back to me and tell me how many people are there. Is that
clear. I am recording this conversation, Captain Schettino.
(Captain tries to speak but Coast Guard can't hear him
clearly. Voices in the Coast Guard room.)
Coast Guard: Speak up! (captain tries to speak) Captain, put
your hand over the microphone and speak in a louder voice!
Captain: At this moment the ship is listing.
Coast Guard: There are people who are coming down the ladder
on the bow. Go back in the opposite direction, get back on the
ship, and tell me how many people there are and what they have
on board. Tell me if there are children, women and what type of
help they need. And you tell me the number of each of these
categories. Is that clear?
Listen Schettino, perhaps you have saved yourself from the
sea but I will make you look very bad. I will make you pay for
this. Dammit, go back on board!
(Noise can be heard in the background. Apparently other
Coast Guard officers are shouting to each other in the same room
about "the ship, the ship")
Captain: Please ...
Coast Guard: There is no 'please' about it. Get back on
board. Assure me you are going back on board!
Captain: I'm in a lifeboat, I am under here. I am not going
anywhere. I am here.
Coast Guard: What are you doing, captain?
Captain: I am here to coordinate the rescue...
Coast Guard (interrupting): What are you coordinating there!
Get on board! Coordinate the rescue from on board! Are you
Captain: No, I am not refusing.
Coast Guard: Are you refusing to go aboard, captain? Tell me
the reason why you are not going back on board.
Captain: (inaudible)... there is a another lifeboat...
Coast Guard (interrupting, yelling): You get back on board!
That is an order! There is nothing else for you to consider. You
have sounded the "Abandon Ship". Now I am giving the orders. Get
back on board. Is that clear? Don't you hear me?
Captain: I am going aboard.
Coast Guard: Go! Call me immediately when you are on board.
My rescue people are in front of the bow.
Captain: Where is your rescue craft?
Coast Guard: My rescue craft is at the bow. Go! There are
already bodies, Schettino. Go!
Captain: How many bodies are there?
Coast Guard: I don't know! ... Christ, you should be the one
telling me that!
Captain: Do you realise that it is dark and we can't see
Coast Guard: So, what do you want to do, to go home,
Schettino?! It's dark and you want to go home? Go to the bow of
the ship where the ladder is and tell me what needs to be done,
how many people there are, and what they need! Now!
Captain: My second in command is here with me.
Coast Guard: Then both of you go! Both of you! What is the
name of your second in command?
Captain: His name is Dmitri (static)"
Coast Guard: What is the rest of his name? (static) You and
your second in command get on board now! Is that clear?
Captain: Look, chief, I want to go aboard but the other
lifeboat here has stopped and is drifting. I have called ...
Coast Guard (interrupting): You have been telling me this
for an hour! Now, go aboard! Get on board, and tell me
immediately how many people there are!
Captain: OK, chief.
Coast Guard: Go! Immediately!