Coastguard raged at captain - recording

2012-01-17 18:11

Rome - The Italian coast guard angrily ordered the captain of the capsized Italian cruise ship to go back aboard to oversee the evacuation, but he stalled, according to an apparent recording of their radio exchange played on national television.

Captain Francesco Schettino is in jail, accused of multiple manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship. He denies all wrongdoing and was questioned by magistrates on Tuesday.

The audio recording, on newspaper Corriere della Sera's website and played on national state television, 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 ran aground.

Schettino, who had already taken to a lifeboat, can be heard talking to a coast guard official based in the western Italian port of Livorno.

Eleven people have been confirmed killed and 24 are still missing.

A Coast Guard official on Giglio, the island where the ship hit a rock, said he could not confirm the authenticity of the tape and said the Coast Guard did not give it to the newspaper. There was no comment available from the captain's lawyer.

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 follows:

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?

Captain: Yes.

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 co-ordinate the rescue...

Coast Guard (interrupting): What are you co-ordinating there! Get on board! Co-ordinate the rescue from on board! Are you refusing?

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 anything?

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!

  • Brendan - 2012-01-17 18:20

    That man is soooo much trouble if this is authentic.

      SubGenius - 2012-01-17 18:45

      Don't know the maritime laws, but I'm sure I read somewhere that a captain of a vessel is liable under similar laws to a military officer, and could face a court martial-type procedure, and would have probably been hanged or faced a firing squad if this was a few decades ago.

      Werner - 2012-01-17 18:49

      There is an old World War II joke: Did you know that Italian tanks come with 6 gears to go backwards and 1 gear to forwards... In case of an attack from the rear. Now lets wait for the next round of Italian cowardice jokes.

      Andrew - 2012-01-17 19:14

      @SubGenius: I think that the penalty for the captain abandoning ship before all the passengers and crew are off is 12 years imprisonment.

      John - 2012-01-18 19:32

      His is name perhaps CRETINO?

      John - 2012-01-18 19:44

      Werner, and what is the most courageous action of the 2 WW? 2 italians blew up a battleship using a the Cairo harbor! Why did the Germans withdraw from Italy? The pasta was finito!

  • ReunionofIntelligentMinds - 2012-01-17 18:30

    Shocking shocking shocking. Abandon ship for him means save your skin and jump. Clearly he does not give a hoot what happens to his passengers. May his and his second in command's sentencing happen as swift as the ship's sinking.

  • Lyndatjie - 2012-01-17 18:34

    Good heavens - what a coward... :(

  • Kim - 2012-01-17 18:49

    How did this idiot become a captain in the first place? Did he think he could just cruise through life.

      mlaeren - 2012-01-17 19:13

      I see what you did there

  • Clive - 2012-01-17 19:11

    How can this "man" live with himself ?

      juanontheweb - 2012-01-18 08:41

      Taking his own life might become something he will consider?

  • Andrew - 2012-01-17 19:13

    @SubGenius: I think that the penalty for the captain abandoning ship before all the passengers and crew are off is 12 years imprisonment.

  • Djim - 2012-01-17 19:31

    Sounds like a man the anc can use.

      Berthram Bowles - 2012-01-18 00:09

      Honestly, where the hell does the ANC come into this?? Why must people always bring politics in when it has OBVIOUSLY nothing to do with anything? This is a disaster and a sad one at that. People have already died and more are missing while you think it's funny to bring politics into this. Please stop wasting space and go comment on some useless blog where other likeminded people are willing to listen to u. Build a nation with people like you... On a different note, I hope the missing people get found (alive). So many of our young hotel school students go on cruise ships to start their careers. This is sad for all, in the industry and passengers' families.

  • Nik - 2012-01-17 20:00

    If the ship was deliberately crashed for insurance or something else, then the captain would have no loyalty to his passengers anyway.

  • nick.vorster - 2012-01-17 20:05

    this is a disgrace, the captain should be the last off the ship! he deserves everything that's coming to him.

  • greg.groenewald - 2012-01-17 20:08

    Sounds like when the Oceanos went down , the Captain was one of the first on shore and directed the rescue from there!

  • michelle.mostert - 2012-01-17 20:11

    Do you remember the Oceanos? In the days before email, I still remember the fax that was sent around. I remember the Captain saying (was he Italian?) Hokay me first!

      Warwick - 2012-01-18 08:16

      Everdently to help coordinate the rescue from the safety of a helicopter. Ha Ha Ha.

  • BigIgRey - 2012-01-18 07:54

    this tape...made up.

  • manfred.meyer - 2012-01-18 11:42

    bwahahahahaha. what a f%&^*in whimp!

  • manfred.meyer - 2012-01-18 11:45

    bwahahahahaha. what a f%&^*in whimp!

  • Richard - 2012-01-18 12:21

    The two shortest books in the world used to be about Italian and Egyptian war heroes. These are now eclipsed by Italian cruise ship officer heroes. However the Italian coast guard and its Giglio Island chief will get a positive mention in dispatches.

  • John - 2012-01-18 19:31

    His is name perhaps CRETINO?

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