I Wouldn’t Want to Be in His Shoes….


29 passengers still missing; 6 dead….that is the latest count of the tragedy on board the Costa Concordia when it ran aground on the Isola del Giglio on January 12th.  The huge ship still sits precariously on the rocks which surround this tiny island, and concerns are mounting now for the environmental impact this accident may have on the delicate ecosystem of the Tuscan Archipelago if the thousands of gallons of fuel leak out of the vessel.  Divers are still continuing their work in the hopes of finding some of the missing.  It’s still pretty unclear what happened that night and why the captain maneuvered the boat so close to the island.  Eye witnesses from Giglio said that they had never seen a cruise ship come so close to the shores.  One speculation is that the captain veered off course to give the islanders a closer look at the boat (perhaps someone had asked him to do it…), but until someone from the deck sheds some light on what was going on up there, we won’t know exactly.  The Black Box has been retrieved, so a clue as to the navigational mistake will be found.  So many questions are being raised in this incident, but one of the main ones is why the captain abandoned the ship prior to all his passengers being led to safety.  He was seen by one passenger, who was still on deck and assisting others, leaving the boat, wrapped in a blanket, on a lifeboat.

In today’s Corriere della Sera, the conversation between Captain Schettino and an officer from the Italian Coast Guard was released.  In it, the officer is getting very agitated and orders the Captainn back to his boat.  Schettino finds lots of excuses not to reboard the boat.  Below are the highlights of that conversation:

De Falco: «Sono De Falco da Livorno, parlo con il comandante? I am De Falco from Livorno.  Am I speaking to the commander?

Schettino: «Sì, buonasera comandante De Falco» Yes, good evening, commander De Falco.

De Falco: «Mi dica il suo nome per favore» Please tell me your name.

Schettino: «Sono il comandante Schettino, comandante» I am the commander Schettino, commander.

De Falco: «Schettino? Ascolti Schettino. Ci sono persone intrappolate a bordo. Adesso lei va con la sua scialuppa sotto la prua della nave lato dritto. C’è una biscaggina. Lei sale su quella biscaggina e va a bordo della nave. Va a bordo e mi riporta quante persone ci sono. Le è chiaro? Io sto registrando questa comunicazione comandante Schettino…». Schettino?  Listen Schettino.  There are persons trapped on board.  Now you go with your lifeboat under the bow of the ship on the starboard side.  There is a small ladder.  Go up the ladder and go on board the ship.  Go on board and report to me how many people there are.  Is that clear?  I am recording this conversation commander Schettino…

Schettino: «Comandante le dico una cosa…» Commander, let me tell you one thing.

De Falco: «Parli a voce alta. Metta la mano davanti al microfono e parli a voce più alta, chiaro?». Please speak louder.  Put your hand in front of the microphone and speak louder.  Clear?

Schettino: «In questo momento la nave è inclinata…». In this moment the ship is inclined.

De Falco: «Ho capito. Ascolti: c’è gente che sta scendendo dalla biscaggina di prua. Lei quella biscaggina la percorre in senso inverso, sale sulla nave e mi dice quante persone e che cosa hanno a bordo. Chiaro? Mi dice se ci sono bambini, donne o persone bisognose di assistenza. E mi dice il numero di ciascuna di queste categorie. E’ chiaro? Guardi Schettino che lei si è salvato forse dal mare ma io la porto… veramente molto male… le faccio passare un’anima di guai. Vada a bordo, cazzo!» I undersand.  Listen:  There are people coming down that ladder on the bow.  You go to that ladder and go the opposite way, go on board the ship and tell me how many people and what they have on board.  Clear?  You tell me if there are children, women or people needing assistance.  And you tell me how many in each category.  Is that clear?  Look, Schettino, you may have saved yourself from the sea, but I will cause you heaps of trouble.  Go on board, (swearword)! 

Schettino: «Comandante, per cortesia…» Commander, please.

De Falco: «No, per cortesia… lei adesso prende e va a bordo. Mi assicuri che sta andando a bordo…». No, please.  Go on board now.  Assure me that you are going on board.

Schettino: «Io sto andando qua con la lancia dei soccorsi, sono qua, non sto andando da nessuna parte, sono qua…» I am going right now with the emergency launch.  I am here, I am not going anywhere, I am here….

De Falco: «Che sta facendo comandante?» What are you doing, commander?

Schettino: «Sto qua per coordinare i soccorsi…» I am here coordinating the emergency effort.

De Falco: «Che sta coordinando lì? Vada a bordo. Coordini i soccorsi da bordo. Lei si rifiuta? What are you coordinating?  Go on board.  Coordinate the effort on board.  Do you refuse? 

Schettino: «No no non mi sto rifiutando». No, I am not refusing.

De Falco: «Lei si sta rifiutando di andare a bordo comandante?? Mi dica il motivo per cui non ci va?» You are refusing to board, commander?  Can you tell me why you are not going?

Schettino: «Non ci sto andando perché ci sta l’altra lancia  che si è fermata…».  I am not going because the other launch has stopped.

De Falco: «Lei vada a bordo, è un ordine. Lei non deve fare altre valutazioni.  Lei ha dichiarato l’abbandono nave, adesso comando io. Lei vada a bordo! E’ chiaro? Non mi sente?  Vada, mi chiami direttamente da bordo. Ci sta il mio aerosoccorritore lì». You go on board, it is an order.  You don’t have to make any other decisions.  You have declared the abandon of the ship, now I command you.  You go on board!  Is that clear?  Don’t you hear me?  Go.  Call me directly once you are on board.  My air rescuer is there.

Schettino: «Dove sta il suo soccorritore?» Where is your rescuer?

De Falco: «Il mio soccorritore sta a prua. Avanti. Ci sono già dei cadaveri Schettino». My rescuer is at the bow. Go.  There are already some bodies, Schettino.

Schettino: «Quanti cadaveri ci sono?» How many bodies are there?

De Falco: «Non lo so.. Uno lo so. Uno l’ho sentito. Me lo deve dire lei quanti ce ne sono, Cristo». I don’t know.  One I know of.  You have to tell me, Christ!

Schettino: «Ma si rende conto che è buio e qui non vediamo nulla …». But do you realize that it is dark and you can’t see anything?

De Falco: «E che vuole tornare a casa Schettino? E’ buio e vuole tornare a casa? Salga sulla prua della nave tramite la biscaggina e mi dica cosa si può fare, quante persone ci sono e che bisogno hanno. Ora!».  So do you want to go home, Schettino?  It’s dark and you want to go home?  Go on the bow of the ship with the ladder and tell me what we can do, how many people there are and what needs they have.  Now!

Schettino: «(…) Sono assieme al comandante in seconda». I am with my second in command.

De Falco: «Salite tutti e due allora. (…) Lei e il suo secondo salite a bordo, ora. E’ chiaro?». Then both of you go on board.  You and your second go on board, now.  Is that clear?

Schettino: «Comandà, io voglio salire a bordo, semplicemente che l’altra scialuppa qua… ci sono gli  altri soccorritori, si è fermata e si è istallata lì, adesso ho chiamato altri soccorritori…». Commander, I want to go on board the other boat here.  There are other rescuers, they have stopped and installed themselves there, now I have called other rescue personnel.

De Falco: «Lei è un’ora che mi sta dicendo questo. Adesso va a bordo, va a B-O-R-D-O!. E mi viene subito a dire quante persone ci sono». You have been telling me this for an hour.  Now go on board, go ON BOARD!  And tell me right away how many people there are.

Schettino: «Va bene comandante» Very well, commander.

De Falco: «Vada, subito!» Go, immediately!

3 responses »

  1. What a coward! There were Australians on board and we are hearing stories of mayhem on board, with young Italian men pushing others out of the way to get on boats. This is a terrible situation.

    • He is being dubbed a coward all over the media. It doesn’t look good for him, at all. I can’t understand how the crew could be so disorganized – they didn’t even have a lifeboat drill yet! I know some people that have cruised with Costa cruises before and they told me that the lifeboat drill is usually done 2 or 3 days into the voyage. That’s kind of a dumb protocol, isn’t it? I’m guessing that things will change after this episode. Are you in Italy right now? If so, I’d love to hear the reaction of people closer to the tragedy.

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