90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Coast Guard To Cruise Captain: ‘Get Back On Board’

Italian prosecutors prepare to question the captain of  the cruise ship Costa Concordia who is accused of causing the wreck near the Tuscan island of Giglio. (AP)

Italian prosecutors prepare to question the captain of the cruise ship Costa Concordia who is accused of causing the wreck near the Tuscan island of Giglio. (AP)

The Guardian newspaper has translated a transcript of a damning audio recording between the Italian Coast Guard and the captain of the cruise ship Costa Concordia. The vessel capsized Friday night after hitting rocks off the Tuscan island of  Giglio, and the captain could face criminal charges in the accident that led to at least 11 deaths.

The recordings come from a series of radio and phone calls where Capt. Francesco Schettino appears to mislead the Coast Guard about the status of the operation. He also initially refused to reboard the ship.

According to the Guardian:

The final, and most dramatic call, took place at 1.46 am when, after confirming that he was speaking to the captain, a coastguard officer told him: “Right. You are now going back on board. You are going to go back up the rope ladder, return to the bridge and co-ordinate operations.”

There followed a long silence, Il Fatto reported.

“You must tell me how many people there are,” the coastguard officer continued. “How many passengers, women and children – and co-ordinate the rescue.”

Schettino protested that he was on hand.

“Captain,” said the coastguard officer, cutting across him. “This is an order. Now I am in command. You have declared the abandoning of a ship and are going to co-ordinate the rescue from the bridge. There are already dead bodies.”

“How many?” asked Schettino.

“You’re the one who should be telling me that,” came the reply. “What do you want to do? Go home? Now, go back up and tell me what can be done: how many people there are and what they need.”

“Alright,” said Schettino. “I’m going.”

However,  two Italian newspapers report Schettino never returned to the ship. Instead, they report, he made his way to the port of Giglio by walking along the rocks where the liner had come to rest.

Prosecutors have accused Schettino of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning his ship before all passengers were evacuated.

The Costa Concordia was carrying more than 4,200 people when it hit a reef off the Tuscan island of Giglio when Schettino made an unauthorized deviation from the cruise ship’s programmed course.

Guest:

  • Gaia Pianigiani, New York Times freelance reporter in Giglio, Italy

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

March 30 36 Comments

Sen. Warren: Not Interested In Reid's Job And Still Not Running For President

Elizabeth Warren insists she has no plans to jump into the 2016 race. She joins us to discuss her current political goals.

March 30 6 Comments

Unveiling The Pain Of Secondary Trauma Victims

Mac McClelland was diagnosed with PTSD after witnessing another woman's horror at being brutally assaulted. She joins us to explain why she didn't believe the diagnosis, at first.

March 27 Comment

Using Poetry To Expose The Power Of Money, Class And Gender

Alissa Quart's first book of poetry is both personal and universal - inspired by work and research she has done as a journalist.

March 27 11 Comments

Yale Is Starting A VHS Archive And It’s Full Of Horror Movies

"Silent Night, Deadly Night," "Stripped to Kill" and "The Last Slumber Party" – all from the 80s – are a few of the titles.