According to a transcript of a telephone conversation between an irate Italian Coast Guard officer and Costa Concordia's captain who had left the ship, the captain was ordered to return to the ship by the Coast Guard, which was in charge of the situation once the vessel crashed.
On a recording of the conversation, the Coast Guard officer sounds not only angry but also incredulous. After all, international maritime law stipulates that the master of a stricken vessel should be the last person to disembark. The Huffington Post has published a recording and transcript of the conversation, a portion of which reads as follows.
_De Falco: "This is De Falco speaking from Livorno. Am I speaking with the commander?"
_Schettino: "Yes. Good evening, Cmdr. De Falco."
_De Falco: "Please tell me your name."
_Schettino: "I'm Cmdr. Schettino, commander."
_De Falco: "Schettino? Listen Schettino. There are people trapped on board. 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: "Commander, let me tell you one thing..."
_De Falco: "Speak up! Put your hand in front of the microphone and speak more loudly, is that clear?"
_Schettino: "In this moment, the boat is tipping..."
_De Falco: "I understand that, listen, there are people that are coming down the pilot ladder of the prow. You go up that pilot ladder, get on that ship and tell me how many people are still on board. And what they need. Is that clear? You need to tell me if there are children, women or people in need of assistance. And tell me the exact number of each of these categories. Is that clear? Listen Schettino, that you saved yourself from the sea, but I am going to... I'm going to make sure you get in trouble. ...I am going to make you pay for this. Go on board, (expletive)!"
_Schettino: "Commander, please..."
What is also curious is that local residents have told reporters that Costa has a history of bringing ships very close. According to the Associated Press, "Costa captains have occasionally steered the ship near port and sounded the siren in a special salute .... Such a nautical 'fly-by' was staged last August, prompting the town's mayor to send a note of thanks to the commander for the treat it provided tourists who flock to the island, local news portal GiglioNews.it reported."