Fascinating exchange between the Captain of the stricken Cruise ship and an Italian Coast Guard Commader, as reported by MSNBC:
Meanwhile, a transcript of a conversation between the cruise liner’s captain, Francesco Schettino, and Capt. Gregorio De Falco of the Italian coast guard in Livorno, was released this morning.
In the recording, De Falco can be heard urgently commanding the captain to return to the cruise ship after he had abandoned it.
“There are people trapped on board,” De Falco said. “Now you go with your boat under the prow on the starboard side. There is a pilot ladder. You will climb that ladder and go on board. You go on board and then you will tell me how many people there are. Is that clear? I’m recording this conversation, Cmdr. Schettino …”
Schettino resisted returning to the ship, saying “I am here with the rescue boats, I am here, I am not going anywhere, I am here.”
“You go aboard. It is an order. Don’t make any more excuses,” De Falco said. “You have declared ‘abandon ship.’ Now I am in charge. You go on board! Is that clear? Do you hear me? Go, and call me when you are aboard. My air rescue crew is there.”
“But you do realize it is dark and here we can’t see anything,” Schettino told the coast guard.
De Falco responded: “And so what? You want to go home, Schettino? It is dark and you want to go home? Get on that prow of the boat using the pilot ladder and tell me what can be done, how many people there are and what there needs are. Now!”
Needless to say, the Captain ignored those commands.
I think the man’s goose is cooked. In the mean-time, the death toll has risen (from the same MSNBC report):
Rescue workers discovered five bodies on Tuesday, bringing the death toll of the Costa Concordia accident to 11. The adult bodies, believed to be passengers, were all wearing life jackets and were found in the rear of the ship near an emergency evacuation point, according to Italian Coast Guard Cmdr. Cosimo Nicastro.
The discovery came hours after Italian naval divers used explosives to blow holes in the ship’s hull in an effort to find 29 missing passengers.
The big question in my mind is how this might impact the burgeoning Cruise industry.
Time will tell.