Carnival Cruise Ship Disaster & the Runaway Captain

Captain Schettino, Definitely Wasn't Going Down With The Ship

Seeing that a Pilot steers the ship in which we sail, who will never allow us to perish even in the midst of shipwrecks, there is no reason why our minds should be overwhelmed with fear and overcome with weariness.
~ John Calvin

The pirates, I’m talking pirates now, had a code of conduct that stated if a pirate deserted the ship or quarters in battle, he was punished with death or marooning. According to maritime law, a captain doesn’t literally have to “go down with the ship,” but he or she is supposed to be the last one off after ensuring the safety of others.

Captain Francesco Schettino, skipper of the doomed cruise ship, Costa Crociere, abandoned ship before all passengers were off and he refused to go back while pretending to be coordinating a rescue operation.  The Coast Guard spotted the Captain fleeing while passengers were struggling to survive.  

Some passengers said he was seen drinking at the bar before the crash.

A French couple said they saw the Captain in a lifeboat well before many passengers were off the ship.

The Captain claims he stayed long enough to save many lives and called his family to tell them this is what he was doing.

The accident is alleged to have occurred because he made an unauthorized detour too close to shore. It is also alleged that he was showing off for tourists at the time. Passengers said that a waiter warned the Captain, “Careful, we are extremely close to the shore.” Read here: Newsinfo

The skipper claimed that the rocks, which tore a 160 foot hole in the hull, were not on the map (not that it matters if he wasn’t supposed to go there). The Italian prosecutors claim that the skipper hit a well known rock formation.

The skipper is detained and is facing charges of manslaughter, shipwreck and leaving the ship before the passengers.

The ship was only out at sea for three hours and did not have time to run through an evacuation drill.

The passengers claimed that for about 20 minutes, passengers were told there was a power outage and to stay calm. An evacuation alarm was finally sounded and there was a stampede for the lifeboats. People who assessed the situation with the listing ship, jumped into the sea and swam the 400 feet to shore. People were running so fast that they trampled people who had fallen. One passenger said, “There were some really ugly scenes.” People panicked.

Rose Metcalf, a 23-year-old crew member, wiped away tears as she told how she wrote a note to her mother in case she did not survive.

From yahoo: “There was absolute panic. It was just terrifying, I was just trying to keep people calm. People were white, people were crying, screaming,” she told BBC television on her return to England. Read here: Disaster

An American couple who survived the wreckage of an Italian cruise ship said today they had to tie sheets and a rope together to climb down the side of the sinking ship in order to escape.

“It was every man for himself,” Emily Lau, an American passenger onboard the Costa Concordia, said today on “Good Morning America.” “The main thing is no one knew how to help because they were never trained. That is the cruise ship’s fault.”

Lau, 27, and her husband, Benji Smith, 34, had angry words for the ship’s captain who is being detained and questioned for allegedly abandoning his passengers while the luxury liner keeled over onto its side after smashing into rocks. Six people died and more than one dozen others remain missing.

The ship which cost $570 million was insured for 405 million euros with a $30 million deductible with a $10 million deductible on third party personal liability. Carnival, owner of the cruise ship, said they estimate the loss of travel will be about $95 million.

There are environmental issues as well. If the tanks leak into the water, there will be a monumental cleanup operation off this beautiful coast.

At least 29 people are still missing and divers are risking their lives to look for them. Two elderly men still in their life jackets were found in the sea depths by divers today.

WSOCTV from CNN: — Recordings between the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship and the Livorno Port Authority, which is part of the Coastal Guard, have given new insight into what happened on the ship when it hit rocks Friday night just off Italy’s western coast.

Listen to the recordings here:

Below are several transcripts of recordings between authorities and the captain published by the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera and translated by CNN’s Hada Messia:


Port authority: “Concordia, We ask you if all is well there.”

Concordia: “All is well. It is only a technical failure.”


Port authority: “How many people are on board?”

Schettino: “Two-three hundred”

Port authority: “How come so few people? Are you on board?’

Schettino: “No, I’m not on board because the ship is keeling. We’ve abandoned it.”

Port authority: “What? You’ve abandoned the ship?”

Schettino: “No. What abandon? I’m here.”


Italian Coast Guard Capt. Gregorio De Falco: “Captain. This is De Falco from Livorno.”

Schettino: “Commandant, I’ve also alerted the company… I’m being told that there are still passengers on board, apparently they are about one hundred… but I repeat…”

De Falco: “Captain. You are not able to tell me an exact figure? About a hundred people, it seems?

Schettino: “Commandant, I am not able to give you an exact figure because let me explain… while we were evacuating the last passengers… now we are all here with all the officers…”

De Falco: “Where are you? On the lifeboats? All the officers?”

Schettino: “Yes, we are with the second commander…”

De Falco: “Forgive me, but before you were only with a sailor. If the officers managed to get down, it means that they could still move.”

Schettino: “Yes…in fact…

De Falco: “Then why don’t they get back on board? To monitor the operation and then they can tell us. Thank you.”

Schettino: “No it is not possible…”

De Falco: “Send them on board. Send one person on board to coordinate…”

Schettino: “But I am doing the coordination.”

De Falco: “I’m giving you an order captain. You need to send someone on board.”

Schettino: “We are going on board to coordinate.”

De Falco: “Exactly. You need to get on board to coordinate the evacuation. Is that clear?!”

Schettino: “But we can’t get on board now…the ship is now…(hard to understand)…”

De Falco: “Why did you tell them to get down?”

Schettino: “What do you mean get down? We abandoned the ship…the ship turned …”

De Falco: “…and with one hundred people on board you abandon the ship? (expletive)”

Schettino: “I did not abandon any ship with 100 people…the ship (hard to understand)…we were catapulted into the water…”

De Falco: We’ll see later what happened. OK? Now tell me everything that takes place. Everything. Get under with the lifeboat (not very clear at this point). Don’t move. Clear?”

Schettino: “Commandant..we are here…we are here…”


Port authority: “You must return on board. Climb the ladder (rope ladder), return to the fore (stem) and coordinate the work.”

Schettino does not reply

Port authority: “You must tell us how many people are on board, how many women, how many children. You have to coordinate the rescue operation. Commander, this is an order. Now I’m in charge, you have abandoned ship and now you are going to go to the stem and coordinate the work. There are already dead bodies.”

Schettino: “How many?”

Port authority: “You should be the one telling me this…What do you want to do? Do you want to go home?…Now go back on the stem and tell me what to do..”


Port authority: “Listen, this is De Falco from Livorno. Am I speaking with the captain?”

Schettino: “Yes.”

Port authority: “Tell me your name.”

Schettino: “This is Captain Schettino, commandant.”

Port authority: “Listen Schettino, there are people trapped on board. Now, you have to go with your lifeboat and go under the boat stem on the straight side, there is a ladder there.”

Port authority: “Get on board on the ship and tell me, you tell me how many people there are.”

Port authority: “Clear? I’m recording this conversation, Captain Schettino.”

Schettino: “Well then commandant, I need to tell you something.”

Port authority: “Speak loudly.”

Schettino: “The ship now…I’m here in front of it…”

Port authority: “Captain, speak loudly.”

Schettino: “Commandant, at this moment the ship is tilted.”

Port authority: “I understand. Listen. There are people who are coming down the stem ladder. You must take that ladder in the opposite direction. Get on board the ship and you tell me how many people are on board, and what do they have. Clear? You tell me if there are children, women, people with special needs. And you tell me how many there are of each category…”

Port authority: “Is that clear?”

Port authority: “Look Schettino, you might have been saved from the sea, but I will make sure you go through a very rough time…I will make sure you go through a lot of trouble. Get on board, damn it.”


Schettino: “Commandant, please…”

Port authority: “No…please. No, you get on board. Assure me that you are getting on board.”

Schettino: (Hard to understand) “I’m here with the rescuers. I’m here. I’ve not gone anywhere. I’m here.”

Port authority: “What are you doing captain?”

Schettino: “I’m here coordinating the rescue.”

Port authority: (Speaks over captain): “What are you coordinating there? Go on board and coordinate from there the rescue operation. Are you refusing?”

Schettino: “No, no, I’m not refusing.”

Port authority: “You are refusing to go on board? And why are you not going on board?”

Schettino: “I am going because now there is the other motorboat (Lancia) that has stopped now.”

Port authority: “You go on board. It is an order. You cannot make any other evaluations. You have declared abandoning ship. Now I’m in charge. You get on board. Is it clear?”

Schettino: “Commandant…”

Port authority over captain: “Are you not listening to me..”

Schettino speaks over Port authority: “I’m going…”

Schettino: “Call me immediately when you get on board. Our rescue officer is there.”

Schettino: “Where is your rescue officer?”

Port authority: “My rescue officer is at the stem…Go …(can hear captain saying OK)…There are already bodies, Schettino.”

Schettino: “How many dead bodies are there?”

Port authority: “I don’t know. I know of one. I’ve heard of one. You are the one to tell me how many there are. Christ!”

Schettino: “Are you aware that it is dark here and we cannot see anything?”

Port authority: “So? Do you want to go home Schettino? It is dark and you want to go home? Climb the ladder and get on the stem.”

Port authority: “…and tell me what can be done, how many people are there, what do they need. Now.”

Schettino: “Commandant, we are with the second in command…”

Port authority: “Then both of you climb up. What is his name?”

Schettino: “Dimitris Christidis.”

Port authority: “You are your guard. Go on board, now!”

Schettino: “Commandant… I want to go on board, it is just that the other lifeboat here…there are other rescue operators… it has stopped and it is stuck there… now I’ve called other rescue operators…”

Port authority: “It is one hour that you are telling me this. You go on board. On b.o.a.r.d (says the word slowly almost spelling it out). And you immediately tell me how many people there are”

Schettino: “OK.”