'Get onboard, for f--k's sake!'

The Costa Concordia cruise liner lies on its side two days after it ran aground off the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy. Photo / AP
The Costa Concordia cruise liner lies on its side two days after it ran aground off the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy. Photo / AP

In the hours after cruise liner Costa Concordia struck rocks off Italy, a port official urged Captain Francesco Schettino, who had abandoned ship, to return on board and help evacuation efforts.

But the captain, who appeared to be on a lifeboat with his deputy, said, "I am not going.''

An audio file of their conversation was provided by Livorno port officials to Italian media.

Here is an ad verbatim transcript of an extract of the exchange between the two captains:

Livorno port official Captain Gregorio De Falco: "Yes, I am De Falco from Livorno, am I speaking with the captain?''

Schettino: "Yes, good evening, Captain De Falco.''

De Falco: "Tell me your name please.''

Schettino: "I am Captain Schettino, captain.''

De Falco: "Schettino? Listen, Schettino. There are people stuck onboard. Go now with your lifeboat to the right side under the bow. There is (an emergency rope) ladder and you must get onboard. Get onboard and tell us how many people there are. Is that clear? I am recording this conversation, Captain Schettino...''

Schettino: "Captain, I want to tell you something.''

De Falco: "Speak loudly. Put your hand in front of the microphone and speak with a louder voice, is that clear?''

Schettino: "Currently the ship is inclining.''

De Falco: "I understood that. Listen: there are people who are climbing down the bow ladder. You need to go in the reverse direction on this ladder, get on the ship and tell me how many people there are and what is happening onboard. Is that clear? You must tell us how many people, children, women and passengers are there and the exact number of each category. Do you understand?

"Listen Schettino, you may have managed to save yourself but there, it will really go badly... I will create a lot of trouble for you. Get onboard, for f--k's sake!''

Schettino: "Captain, I'm begging you.''

De Falco: "No, I am begging you... Now go and climb back on board. Tell me please that you are on the way to getting onboard.''

Schettino: "I am already on the way there, I am here. I am not going anyway, I am here.''

De Falco: "What are you doing, captain?''

Schettino: "I am here to coordinate the rescue.''

De Falco: "What are you coordinating there? You need to get back onboard to coordinate the rescue on board now. Are you refusing to do so?''

Schettino: "No, no I'm not refusing.''

De Falco: "Are you refusing to return on board? Tell me why you are not going?''

Schettino: "I am not going because there is another boat (lifeboat) which has stopped...''

De Falco: "Get back on board, it's an order. Do not think about anything else. You have declared abandon ship. I am in command now. Get back on board!! Is that clear? Are you listening to me? Go and call me directly from the boat. There are already my emergency signals onsite.''

Schettino: "Where is your means of rescue?''

De Falco: "It is at the bow. Go... There are already bodies, Schettino.''

Schettino: "How many are there?''

De Falco: "I don't know. One for sure, I heard that. You are the one who is supposed to tell me how many, damn it!!!''

Schettino: "But do you realise that it is dark and we can't see anything?''

De Falco: "What do you want to do, Schettino? Go home? It is dark so you want to go home? Get back on the bow of the ship by the ladder and tell me what we can do. How many people there are and what are their needs. Right now!!''

Schettino: "I am with my deputy (on the lifeboat).''

De Falco: "Get back onboard, you two. You and your deputy must get back on board, do you understand?

Schettino: "But captain, I want to return on board but another lifeboat is here... there are other rescuers... It has stopped and it is stuck, I am going to call other rescuers.''

De Falco: "You have been telling me that for the past hour. You return on board now, get ON B.O.A.R.D!! And you will tell me immediately how many people there are.''

Schettino: "Ok captain.''

De Falco: "Go immediately!!''

According to the harbour master's office which dates the final exchange at 1.46 am. (2.46pm NZT, captain Schettino sought refuge on a rock at 12.30 am. Witnesses said he did not return to the ship to run the rescue operations which went on until 6.00 am.


- AFP

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