Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Captain ordered back onto boat by port officials


 Mr Schettino 'attempted to take a taxi away from the scene' • Crew 'began evacuation before captain's orders' • Number of missing passengers and crew rises to 29 • Navy blasting holes in hull to improve access to divers • Captain due to appear in court this morning • Minister warns of ecological disaster According to reports in Italian media, Captain Francesco Schettino was attempting to catch a taxi away from the scene. “What do you want to do, go home?” one official asked him, according to transcripts of the increasingly frantic exchanges between port authorities and the captain, who allegedly refused a direct order to return to the ship and take charge. The transcripts reveal the mounting anger and frustration of port and Coast Guard officials as they began to realise the full extent of the disaster, despite the commander’s repeated insistence that the situation on board was “all OK”. When officials told the captain that there were reports of bodies in the water, the commander allegedly asked: “How many?”.