Italian cruise ship sinking: Italy probes captain’s call with boss


    Italian cruise ship sinking is still making headlines. The telephone call between capsized ship Costa Concordia’s Captain Francesco Schettino and the ship’s operator are being probed to look into reasons of the delay in rescue operations when the liner was sinking. The conversation took place just as the liner had started to sink.

    People aware of the probe informed that rescue operation was suspended as the ship shifted on the seabed, but it began an hour into the disaster, which is questionable. On the liner more than 4,000 people were aboard who were aboard. The delay caused much frustration among the rescue operators and the passengers panicked.

    The rescue was suspended when the rough sea made the 105,000-ton ship rotate on the seabed, making rescue work extremely perilous. So far 11 people have been confirmed dead and 21 are missing.

    The investigation into the shipwreck is targeting the measures Captain Francesco Schettino took as the vessel crashed against rocks on Friday near the Tuscan island of Giglio. Following the impact, Schettino brought the ship closer to shore of Giglio. But he did not begin evacuation measures till an hour had passed after reaching the shore. He sounded the evacuation alarm when at least four coast guards called the ship. Ideally, he should have initiated the rescue measures immediately after the ship came near the shore by calling the coast guards.

    The recorded advice of ship operator Costa Crociere, a unit of Carnival Corp., is also being probed. He was recorded advising the captain to handle the unfolding crises.

    Prosecuters are probing into the suspicious phone call and Davide Barbano, Costa Crociere spokesman elaborated that the phone contact was protocol in an emergency situation. No further information was revealed as investigation is still being carried out.

    The Costa Concordia incident has gripped the peninsular country of Italy. The country has had a rich naval history and the long coastlines are busy hubs of business ports. Media covered the tragedy, reporting with sad images of the enormous liner as it sank slowly.

    The luxury liner brought in memories of the Titanic, though Concordia is twice the size of the unfortunate Titanic.

    The Concordia tragedy, with its many stories of brave men who struggled to save pasengers selflessly. has also affected the country that has been struggling to right itself after a decade in the economic doldrums.

    Concordia’s 52-year-old captain Mr. Schettino, whose conversation with Gregorio De Falco, a coast guard commander in the hours following the shipwreck were recorded. It showed the captain making excuses to leave the ship, saying he wanted to “coordinate” evacuation efforts from a lifeboat. The coastguard was lauded for his passionate persuasion to make the captain stay on board. One of Falco’s more colorful Italian-language urgings, which roughly translate to “Get back on board, damn it!” has gone viral and has been printed on T-shirts for sale on the Internet. Other heroes who are remembered are the drummer of the ship’s band, who gave up his seat on a lifeboat to a young boy and is now missing; an officer who helped several people before he broke his leg.

    Enrico Mentana, an Italian anchor, said, “This affair has become, to the outside world, emblematic of Italy. We see ourselves as the good commander, rather than the bad captain. But the outside world sees the opposite in us.”


      The recording says in part:

      Coastguard to captain (who has already left the ship):

      “There are people who are coming down the ladder on the bow. Go back in the opposite direction, get back on the ship, and tell me how many people there are and what they have on board.

      “Tell me if there are children, women and what type of help they need. And you tell me the number of each of these categories. Is that clear?!

      “Listen Schettino, perhaps you have saved yourself from the sea but I will make you look very bad. I will make you pay for this. Dammit, go back on board!”

      Captain to Coastguard: “Please ….”

      Coastguard to captain: “There is no please about it. Go back on board. Assure me you are going back on board!”

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