An audio recording of the conversation between Captain Francesco Shetino and employees of the port administration after the doomed Italian luxury cruise liner Costa Concordia hit rocks on Friday was released on Tuesday morning.
At least eleven people have been killed since then, and dozens more are still missing. Following is a translation of the recording, which is published on the Corriere della Sera news website.
“Captain Szczecin: Captain Szczecin.
Port Authority: Schettino, listen to me, there are trapped people on board, now you are returning, you will go with your lifeboat under the stern of the ship, there are several steps, you climb these steps and get on board and get back to me by letting me know how many people are on board. Is it clear to you? I’m actually recording this captain of the conversation.
[inaudible, captain mumbles]
PA: Speak out loud.
Captain: So, the ship right now [inaudible]…
PA: Speak out loud! Put your hand next to the microphone to cover it and speak! 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 who go down the stern ladder with the help of the rope ladder, you go back there and climb that ladder on the way back, you get on board 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 who need help, and you give me a number for each of these categories, is that clear? Look at Schettino, you may have escaped the sea, but it will cause you a lot of trouble, it will be very bad for you! Return to the board for [expletive]sake !!!
Captain: Officer, please.
PA: There are no “pleasures”! Get back on board! Please assure me that you are returning on board.
Captain: I’m here on the lifeboat. I’m here, I haven’t gone anywhere else, I’m here.
PA: What are you doing, Captain?
Captain: I’m here to coordinate rescue operations.
PA: What do you coordinate? Return to the ship and coordinate the rescue operations on board the ship.
[silence, sound cuts out]
PA: Are you refusing to do that?
Captain: No, I do not refuse to do so.
PA: Do you refuse to return on board?
Captain: No, I do not refuse to return. I’m not going because the other lifeboat stopped.
PA: Get back on board! This is an order! You do not need to make another assessment. You have declared that you have abandoned the ship, therefore I am in command. Get back on board right now, okay?
Captain: officer …
PA: Can’t you hear me?
Captain: I’m back on board.
PA: Then go! And call me as soon as you’re on board. There is my savior.
Captain: Where is your savior?
PA: My savior is at the stern, go! There are bodies already, Szczecin! I’m going!
Captain: Officer, how many bodies are there?
PA: I don’t know. I know about one … I’ve heard of one, but you have to tell me! [expletive]!!
Captain: Do you realize it’s dark 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? Climb the stern of this ship, climb the ladder and tell me what can be done, how many people there are and what they need. Right now!
Captain: I’m here with my second officer.
[Schettino identifies second officer.]
PA: You and your second officer need to get back on board right now, okay?
Captain: I just wanted to tell you that the other lifeboat here with other lifeguards stopped. It’s just stopped. Now I 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 immediately come back to me, telling me how many people there are.
Captain: Great officer, I’m going.
PA: Then go now!
[A second recording appears to show another conversation between Captain Francesco Schettino and the Port Authority:]
Captain: I’ve talked to the company and it looks like there are still people on board, probably about a hundred.
PA: And you can’t even give me an exact number? You say “there seems to be”?
Captain: Well, we did evacuation procedures, but now all the officers have gathered on the lifeboat with me.
PA: Where are you? Everyone on the lifeboat? Excuse me, earlier you told me where with only one colleague – now all the officers are there?
Captain: Yes, I am my second officer and…
PA: If the officers were able to get down there, that means they were able to move …
Captain: Really, now …
PA: Then why don’t they go back on board to see what the situation is and then tell us about it, thank you? Send them on board! Send someone on board to coordinate!
Captain: It’s not …
PA: Send someone back on board!
Captain: I’m coordinating …
PA: I command you, Captain. You have to send someone on board!
Captain: We’re going on board to coordinate …
PA: That’s right! You must enter the board to coordinate the descent! Clear?
Captain: But we can no longer board, the ship is completely sunk.
PA: Why did you let them down, Captain?
Captain: No … We abandoned the ship.
PA: And with 100 people still on board, are you leaving the ship? [expletive]
Captain: I didn’t abandon a single ship … because the ship quickly turned sideways and we were ejected into the water.
PA: We’ll find out later what actually happened … for now, tell me everything that’s happening, everything! Get under the lifeboat and don’t leave.
Captain: We are here. They were here. “