April 1991
Encountering Pirates
Biographer: Serena Lee
A story about a brave ship captain encountering pirates whilst en route from Singapore to Tokyo.
My name is David Dias. I'm a ship captain and I've been sailing for approximately thirty-five years. I was sailing from Singapore to Tokyo on a container ship and I was chief officer on-board. On this particular run, it's quite normal for us to encounter pirates. We had the ship's radar on and the ship was prepared for a potential pirate attack. Around half past eight, I sighted three pirate boats approaching the ship. They were on small speed boats and it looked like there were about three of them on each boat. I quickly raised the alarm and all the crew members and their respected duties. On hearing the alarm, the emergency fire pumps was activated—whereby all of the fire hoses on deck were charged. Although we had the pumps running, the pirates did not seem to be deterred by this action of the vessel. We couldn't defend ourselves apart from securing all of the accommodation doors and making sure everything was locked so that incase the pirates took hold of the vessel—the wouldn't be able to enter the accomodation. So I decided to increase the speed of the vessel, which indicated to me that the pirates couldn't keep up with our speed. Later on, I noticed there were two additional pirate boats coming straight towards the vessel spout. I blew the ships whistle, changed over to hand steering so I could have a zig-zag motion on the ship. In other words I was actually heading towards the pirate boats. They saw me heading towards them, turned around and seemed to be afraid of what we were doing on the ship because they realised we were very aware of them coming towards us. Since we were a lot faster and bigger, they decided that we weren't an easy target.