THE FINE GESTURE
MV Bangkok on its onward journey to Italian Port of Augusta had called on Port of Kutch in India for bunkering. The crew enjoyed spicy curries and company of voluptuous women for two days and sailed off to its destination.
An hours in to sea, the captain of the ship saw a fishing boat heading in his direction. The boat waved a white flag, which was a message for the captain of MV Bangkok that the master of the boat wanted to discuss something important with him. As the fishing boat neared MV Bangkok, a rope ladder was lowered to enable the master of the fishing boat to climb the ship. On board, the master of the boat bargained with the captain of MV Bangkok to take on board twelve men for a price. The deal was struck and the fugitives were allowed to board the ship. All of them were interned in the lower deck of the vessel.
The fugitives survived on a loaf of bread, piece of cheese and a mug of coffee given to them at the day break. No one was allowed to go to the upper deck. After eleven horrifying nights they neared the Italian shore.
Suddenly the vessel was surrounded by the Italian Coast Guard. There was commotion and panic. The captain rushed to the lower deck and apprised the fugitives of the situation.
“The Italian government is very tough with the fugitives. It is much better that you take a chance and find some tramp to escape; there are plenty of them floating around. I suggest you split in small groups. That will make it easier. And I will give all of you life jackets to help in your escape.”
The fugitives appreciated the gesture of the captain and picked up a life jacket each and jumped off the ship. There being no other option in any case.
Only three fugitives survived the cruel sea and were apprehended by the Italian Coast Guard. They were tried and sentenced for life for illegal entry and smuggling heroin found stuffed in their life jackets.