The cruise captain... in his own words
This is a translation of the transcript of the conversation between Captain Francesco Schettino, commander of the sinking Costa Concordia, and Captain Gregorio De Falco of the Italian coast guard in Livorno.
Captain De Falco repeatedly orders Schettino to return to the ship to oversee the evacuation, while Schettino resists, making excuses that it is dark and that the ship is listing.
De Falco: "This is De Falco speaking from Livorno. Am I speaking with the commander?"
Schettino: "Yes. Good evening, Cmdr. De Falco."
De Falco: "Please tell me your name."
Schettino: "I'm Cmdr. Schettino, commander."
De Falco: "Schettino? Listen Schettino. There are people trapped on board. Now you go with your boat under the prow on the starboard side. There is a pilot ladder. You will climb that ladder and go on board. You go on board and then you will tell me how many people there are. Is that clear? I'm recording this conversation, Cmdr. Schettino..."
Schettino: "Commander, let me tell you one thing..."
De Falco: "Speak up! Put your hand in front of the microphone and speak more loudly, is that clear?"
Schettino: "In this moment, the boat is tipping..."
De Falco: "I understand that, listen, there are people that are coming down the pilot ladder of the prow. You go up that pilot ladder, get on that ship and tell me how many people are still on board. And what they need. Is that clear? You need to tell me if there are children, women or people in need of assistance. And tell me the exact number of each of these categories. Is that clear? Listen Schettino, that you saved yourself from the sea, but I am going to... I'm going to make sure you get in trouble. ...I am going to make you pay for this. Go on board, (expletive)!"
Schettino: "Commander, please..."
De Falco: "No, please. You now get up and go on board. They are telling me that on board there are still..."
Schettino: "I am here with the rescue boats, I am here, I am not going anywhere, I am here..."
De Falco: "What are you doing, commander?"
Schettino: "I am here to co-ordinate the rescue..."
De Falco: "What are you co-ordinating there? Go on board! Co-ordinate the rescue from aboard the ship. Are you refusing?"
Schettino: "No, I am not refusing."
De Falco: "Are you refusing to go aboard commander? Can you tell me the reason why you are not going?"
Schettino: "I am not going because the other lifeboat is stopped."
De Falco: "You go aboard. It is an order. Don't make any more excuses. You have declared 'abandon ship.' Now I am in charge. You go on board! Is that clear? Do you hear me? Go, and call me when you are aboard. My air rescue crew is there."
Schettino: "Where are your rescuers?"
De Falco: "My air rescue is on the prow. Go. There are already bodies, Schettino."
Schettino: "How many bodies are there?"
De Falco: "I don't know. I have heard of one. You are the one who has to tell me how many there are. Christ."
Schettino: "But do you realise it is dark and here we can't see anything..."
De Falco: "And so what? You want to go home, Schettino? It is dark and you want to go home? Get on that prow of the boat using the pilot ladder and tell me what can be done, how many people there are and what their needs are. Now!"
Schettino: "...I am with my second in command."
De Falco: "So both of you go up then ... You and your second go on board now. Is that clear?"
Schettino: "Commander, I want to go on board, but it is simply that the other boat here ... there are other rescuers. It has stopped and is waiting..."
De Falco: "It has been an hour that you have been telling me the same thing. Now, go on board. Go on board! And then tell me immediately how many people there are there."
Schettino: "OK, commander"
De Falco: "Go, immediately!"