Part III : Donny and Family Taken Hostages by Pirates

November 26, 2008

  • Part I: Pirates Traumatised Mangala Captain
  • Part II : Foreboding of Danger on Valiant Carrier
  • Part IV: Sea Piracy Post-Valiant Carrier

    Inside the Captain’s quarters, one level below, Donny heard the increasing sounds of men’s voices as they came down the stairway and approached the outside door. Outside the Captain’s office one of the attackers kicked the door. “Captain, please open the door they are killing me”, was Homi’s voice in agony. Donny had to decide. His third officer outside was possibly dying. As Master of the ship he could not allow any of his crew to get hurt. He unlocked the door and the hooded pirates stormed in dragging Homi. A fist slammed Donny on the temple, knocking him to the floor and demanding money. Donny was too dazed to respond. On his hands and knees, he saw his attackers only inches away.

    One of the masked men screamed at Donny and reached down and grabbed him by the arm and propelled him towards the ship’s safe. Another man danced around the Captain shouting “money, money”. He flipped a knife in Donny’s face. He felt the breeze of the blade as it passed in front of his eyes. Donny tried to tell them that there was no money in the safe. They surrounded him in a frenzy, waving their blades, bearing their fangs, poking him and barking in Indonesian and broken English. The tip of a blade cut across Donny’s eyebrow. One pirate reached down for Homi and spun him over on to his stomach and kicked him in the ribs. Homi seemed close to losing his life. He said that the money was not in the safe but in the bedroom.

    Donny was on his hands and knees with his head bowed. A tall pirate stood over him. The tip of his knife pressed against the back of Donny’s neck. He went to the safe and dialed its combination and finally opened it. It had some ship’s papers but no money. In the meantime, the ships crew came to the door. “Captain, we are all here – are you all right”, one of them said. The crew pounded on the door. Donny tried to respond but his voice was hoarse and weak. The pirates jerked him to his feet and waved the ship’s useless papers at Donny’s face. “No money you die now”. They opened the door as a dozen crew stood opposite with crowbars, fire axes, wrenches and pipe cheaters. A look at Donny provoked a shocked murmur through the crew and they surged towards his captors. The Indonesian pressed his knife against the Captain’s neck. He was a hostage now.

    Faced with an enraged mob the pirates had to either take over the ship and kill the crew or escape with their lives. As Donny was pushed down the stairwell, some of the crew with weapons backed down the stairs looking up. Behind the pirates an equal number of crew armed with clubs followed. A pirate guarded the rear, taking the stairs backward, one hand slashing out his knife at the advancing sailors. On the deck outside one of the gang grabbed Donny’s hair and rammed him to the railing, jerking his head back and forth, screaming “money, money”. The crew charged and the pirates turned and swung their knives, they pushed Donny’s head over the railing and threatened to throw him overboard.

    At this point, Donny said: “I’ll get the money and you get off my ship”. After a short discussion among themselves, the lead bandit said “We go, you get money. No money we kill you”. Donny realised that the bandits were getting impatient and the situation was getting out of control. Donny asked Vim to open the bedroom door and the pirates came to know that there was a woman on board and they stared at her and the baby. One pirate lunged for the baby and grabbed her tiny fist and began to squeeze. Vim lashed out with her bare foot, catching him in the knee and the pirate yanked harder trying to wrest the baby out of her hand. Vim said: “Leave my baby alone”. The pirate grabbed Vim by the hair and wrenched her neck. Another was looking for jewelry on her. In desperation Vim said: “Donny give them the money for God’s sake. They are hurting Vanisha”. Donny said: “ I told you that the money is in the bedroom. I will get the money. Leave the baby alone”. One of the pirates said to Vim: “We kill you and we kill the baby”.

    The bandits spun Donny towards the bedroom and a barefoot into his back sent him crashing face-first on to the floor of the entrance. He lay there for a moment without moving and said in a broken voice: “I can’t get the money with my hands tied”. They untied him and he went inside and brought the large black leather purse into the dayroom. The pirates grabbed it and triumphantly pulled out the fistful of notes and stuffed them into their loin clothes and pant pockets --$ 4000 in all. The lead pirate ordered Donny to tell the crew to back away from the door and declared: “We go now”. A pirate grabbed Vim by the hair and placed a knife on her throat. Another took Vanisha’s tiny arm and pressed the thin blade against her.  Vanisha squirmed, kicked and bawled while Vim found it difficult to hold on to the baby. Now the whole of Donny’s family became hostages to the pirates.

    Donny yelled out to the crew to back off: “We are coming out. Give us some room. They have got the baby”. Once outside the dayroom, a furious crew stood opposite. As the pirates and their hostages moved forward, the crew slowly and reluctantly retreated to the corner. The pirates, penned in by the well-armed seamen, were on the verge of panic. One of the crew charged at a pirate and swung his iron pipe at ankle height. But his knife flung towards Vim and she saw the blade as a quick flash. She braced herself for searing pain that would follow and she expected it to kill her. The knife made a sharp cut on Vanisha’s forehead and the blood dripped through Vim’s fingers. The baby went limp in Wim’s arms and she said:   “O God! They have killed my baby”.

    At this point the crew went berserk. They charged into the pirates, swinging out to kill. The pirates slashed with their knives and machetes and hacked out an opening. They ran towards the railing, scrambled over and jumped into the sea. A large fishing boat crept out of the shadows behind the ship and turned on its own deck lights. It stopped in the tanker’s wake to pick up the men in the water. Donny and the crew led Vim and the baby into the Captain’s cabin but she refused to enter. They took her to the Chief Officer’s cabin down the corridor where she remained stunned in shock. The raid of the pirates was over with Donny, Vim, Vanisha and Homi bearing the brunt of their blind violence.

  • Part I: Pirates Traumatised Mangala Captain
  • Part II : Foreboding of Danger on Valiant Carrier
  • Part IV: Sea Piracy Post-Valiant Carrier
  • By John B. Monteiro
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