Ever Thought About Abandoning Ship?

1.17.2012 — Leave a comment

I just finished reading CNN’s translation of the recently published conversation between the captain of the Concordia Cruise Liner and the Italian Port Authority. The conversation (read it below) reads like a movie-scene and provides some powerful insight into what was going on the night that the ship capsized and the captain allegedly abandoned his post for the sake of his own safety.

After reading the transcript, I couldn’t help but wonder how many ministry peers have been in similar situations – or are on the cusp of an opportunity to “abandon ship”. I also thought about some conversations I’ve had with friends who have been on the brink of abandoning their marriages because of ‘capsizing’ and how harsh I’ve been with them, too.

I invite you to read the conversation below and maybe allow it to challenge YOU in wherever you are to NOT abandon ship – but to realize your responsibility (in ministry, in marriage?) and to live out the role you’ve been given.

Caution: there are a few PG-13 word-choices used by the Port Authority.

Livorno Port Authorities: “Concordia, we ask you if all is OK there.”

Concordia: “All is well.”

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.”

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.”