The captain of the Costa Concordia was ordered by the port authority to return to his sinking ship after abandoning his crew and thousands of suffering passengers, according to transcripts of radio calls and telephone conversations released Tuesday.
Transcripts indicate that Captain Francesco Schettino claimed he would return to the ship to organize emergency operations. Instead, he instead walked from the rocks to the port of Giglio where he hailed a taxi and fled the scene of the disaster.
Mario Pellegrini, the deputy mayor of Giglio, boarded the stranded Costa Concordia at about 11 p.m. I then remained on board until 5am helping passengers leave. Although I asked for the officers I couldn't find one - and I never once saw the captain, he told The Guardian. Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, also claimed the crew revolted against the captain. They began preparing the lifeboats 13 minutes before the order was given to abandon ship. The paper described the action by some of Schettino's officers as a kind of mutiny.
Schettino was questioned and arrested. He is currently facing multiple charges of manslaughter and abandoning ship, according to Reuters. Reports state that he has been ordered to remain in custody as he awaits questioning by a magistrate.
More than 70 passengers of the Costa Concordia joined a class action lawsuit against the ship's owner.
Below is a complete transcript of the conversation between Captain Francesco Schettino (FS) and Commander Di Falco (DF) of the coast guard via Sky News.
DF: Hello. I am... Commander.
FS: Good evening, Commander.
DF: I am Di Falco from Livorno. Am I speaking with the Commander?
FS: Yes. Good evening Commander Di Falco.
DF: Please tell me your name.
FS: I am Commander Schettino, Commander.
DF: Listen Schettino. There are people who are trapped on board. Now you go with your lifeboat under the bow. There is a Jacob's ladder. You go up that ladder and get on board the ship. You go on board and you then tell me how many people there are. Is this clear? I am recording this conversation, Commander Schettino.
FS: Right, Commander. I have to tell you something.
DF: Speak loudly.
FS: The ship now...
DF: Commander, please speak loudly. Put your hand round the microphone and speak loudly.[Background talking possibly between FS and people with him but unclear]
FS: Commander, right now, the ship is inclined.
DF: I have understood that. Now, listen to me, there are people who are coming down that ladder. Now you go up that ladder instead, you go on board and you tell me how many people there are and what they have on board. You tell me if there are children, women or people who need help. And you tell me the number of people in each of these groups. Is that clear? Listen Schettino, you have saved yourself but I will make sure that you will be in serious trouble. Go on board, for ***** sake.
FS: Commander, please...
DF: No please. Now you go on board. Please reassure me that you are going on board.
FS: I am going with the rescue boat. I am under here.
DF: What are you doing, Commander?
FS: I am here to coordinate the rescue operations.
DF: What are you coordinating? Go on board and coordinate rescue operations from there. Are you refusing to do so?
FS: No, no, no, I am not refusing to go on board.
DF: Are you refusing to go on board, Commander?
DF: And tell me the reason why you are not going on board.
FS: I am going there because there is the other lifeboat[inaudible].
DF: You go on board. It is an order. You don't need to carry out any assessment. You declared ship abandoned. Now I am in charge. You go on board. Is that clear?
DF: Can you not hear me?
FS: I am going on board
DF: You go
DF: You call me immediately when you are on board. My rescuer is there.
FS: Where is your rescuer?
DF: My rescuer is at the bow. Go on. There are already some bodies, Schettino. Go on.
FS: How many bodies are there?
DF: I don't know. I am aware of one. You will tell me their number, for Christ's sake.
FS: But do you realise that it is dark and that we cannot see anything?
DF: And what do you want to do? Go back home, Schettino? Go to the bow of the ship by going up the ladder and tell me what can be done, how many people there are and what they need. Now.
FS: Commander unclear
FS: I have the second in command here.
DF: You both go up, then. Both of you. What is the name of the second in command?
DF: What is the name of the second in command?
FS: His name is Dimitri...
DF: Dimitri what?
FS: Dimitri [inaudible]
DF: You and your second in command go on board. Now. Is that clear?
FS: Commander. I want to go on board. But the other lifeboat, the other rescuers are here and it has stopped, it has stopped.. Now, I have called other rescuers...
DF: You have been telling me this for the last hour. You now go on board. Go on board. And you tell me immediately how many people there are.
FS: That's ok, Commander.
DF: You go, immediately.