By now everyone is aware of the cruise ship disaster that occurred a few days ago when the Costa Concordia, a ship owned by Carnival, ran aground off the Port of Livorno. What you may not be aware of is the complete cowardice of the captain, Captain Francesco Schettino, in abandoning ship when hundreds remained on board the capsizing ocean liner, and refusing a Coast Guard order to get back on his ship. Here is the full transcript of the call between a frantic and furious Italian Coast Guard officer, and Schettino:
Captain: Good evening, chief.
Coastguard: Listen, this is De Falco from Livorno. Am I speaking with the captain?
Captain: Good evening, Chief De Falco.
Coastguard: Tell me your name, please.
Captain: I am Captain Schettino, chief.
Coastguard: 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 Coastguard can’t hear him clearly.)
Coastguard: 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.
Coastguard: 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!
Captain: Please …
Coastguard: 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.
Coastguard: What are you doing, Captain?
Captain: I am here to coordinate the rescue…
Coastguard (interrupting): What are you coordinating there! Get on board! Coordinate the rescue from on board! Are you refusing?
Captain: No, I am not refusing.
Coastguard: 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…
Coastguard (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.
Coastguard: Go! Call me immediately when you are on board. My rescue people are in front of the bow.
Captain: Where is your rescue craft?
Coastguard: My rescue craft is at the bow. Go! There are already bodies, Schettino. Go!
Captain: How many bodies are there?
Coastguard: 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?
Coastguard: 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.
Coastguard: Then both of you go! Both of you! What is the name of your second in command?
Captain: His name is Dmitri (static)”
Coastguard: 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 …
Coastguard (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.
Coastguard: Go! Immediately!