Good Company

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Skipper's eye view of piracy

Reported here:
Capt Rodrigues took command of a small container ship after it was attacked en route from Australia to Singapore.

When the 10-men crew heard shots in the night most of them locked themselves in their cabins but the captain and chief officer were later found shot dead.

Captain Rodrigues: You are defenceless once they are on board

It is believed they were killed after the pirates demanded money. The unmanned ship continued on its course for an hour and a half before the crew emerged to find their shipmates killed.

The survivors were first accused of having mutinied but were later accepted as victims.

When Capt Rodrigues took over the helm he had a new crew as the other men were too traumatised to return.

"We agreed everyone was on piracy watch. I never had to force anyone to go out. They were always up on the bridge."

On first boarding the ship, he said: "I told myself lightning doesn't strike twice."

But he may have thought he had spoken too soon when one night a few months later the ship was approached by a couple of speedboats off the Indonesian islands, south of Singapore.

"We got out the search lights and torches and sounded the alarms," he recalled.

The measures worked as the speedboats gave up their pursuit.

But he later heard pirates had boarded another ship, tied up the chief engineer and ransacked the vessel

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