An audio recording between the Coast Guard and Captain Francesco Schettino posted to Corriere della Sera’s website Tuesday reveals what happened after the ill-fated Italian cruise ship, Costa Concordia ran aground off the West Coast of Italy on Jan. 13.
According to the recording, a Coast Guard ordered the Captain to go back to the keeled over ship and tell him if “there are children, women or people that need assistance.” The Coast Guard had to ask Capt. Schettino to return to the abandoned vessel several times before he agreed.
The tape is in Italian, but here’s a translated transcript of the coversation (via Global News):
Captain Schettino: It’s Capt. Schettino.
Port Authority: Schettino, listen to me, there are people trapped onboard, now you go back, you will go with your rescue boat under the stern of the ship, there are some steps, you climb those steps and you get onboard and you get back to me letting me know how many people are on board. Is that clear to you? I am actually recording this conversation captain.
[inaudible, captain mumbles]
PA: Speak in a loud voice.
Captain: So, the ship right now [inaudible]…
PA: Speak in a loud voice! Put your hand by the microphone to cover it and speak up! Is that clear?
Voices in the background: “Tell him to come here. Tell him to come here.”
Captain: So, right now the ship is tilted…
PA: I understand that. Listen to me, there are people that are getting off using the rope ladder on the stern side, you go back there and you go up that ladder the opposite way, you go onboard the ship and you tell me how many people [are there] And what they need. You tell me if there are children, women or people that need assistance and you give me a number for each one of these categories is that clear? Look Schettino, you may have saved yourself from the sea but we will put you through a lot of trouble — it will be very bad for you! Get back on board for [expletive]’s sake!!!
Captain: Officer, please.
PA: There are no “pleases”! Get back on board! Please assure me that you are going back on board.
Captain: I am here on the rescue boat. I’m right here, I didn’t go anywhere else, I’m here.
PA: What are you doing captain?
Captain: I’m here to coordinate rescue operations.
PA: What are you coordinating? Get back on board and coordinate rescue operations from onboard the ship.
[silence, sound cuts out]
PA: Do you refuse to do that?
Captain: No, I’m not refusing to do that.
PA: Are you refusing to back on board?
Captain: No, I am not refusing to go back. I am not going because the other rescue boat stopped.
PA: Get back on board! This is an order! You don’t need to make any other assessment. You have declared that you have abandoned ship, therefore I’m in command. Get back on board right now is that clear?
PA: Can you not hear me?
Captain: I’m getting back on board.
PA: Then go! And call me right away when you are on board. There’s my rescuer there.
Captain: Where is your rescuer?
PA: My rescuer is on the stern side, go! There are already bodies, Schettino! Go!
Captain: Officer how many bodies are there?
PA: I don’t know. I know about one… I’ve heard about one, but you must tell me! [expletive]!
Captain: Do you realise it’s dark out here and we can’t see anything?
PA: What do you want to do ? Do you want to go home? It’s dark so you want to go home? Get on the stern of that ship climb the ladder and tell me what can be done, how many people are there and what they need. Right now!
Captain: I’m here with my second officer.
[Schettino identifies second officer.]
PA: You and your second officer must get back on board right now is that clear?
Captain: I just wanted to tell you that the other rescue boat here with other rescuers stopped. It’s just stopped. Now I’ve called the other rescuers.
PA: You’ve been telling me the same thing for an hour now get back on board! On board! And you get back to me right away telling me how many people are there.
Captain: It’s fine officer, I’m going.
PA: Then go, right now!
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