In Chapter 6, Kendal sets sail through the Gulf of Aden, which is notoriously known for pirate attacks. Being the start of the monsoon, Kendal, which could also be targeted by the pirates, seems to be in comfortable waters, as the high seas dissuades pirates on small boats from venturing into the sea. During the journey, George recollects that there were reports that there were attacks on Yemeni ships and an oil tanker in the past few weeks, and that they were repelled only because these ships had armed guards. The Kendal unfortunately, doesn’t allow armed guards aboard her, and instead, have pirate watch that consists of small portholes on each floor of the ship. On pirate watch, two men are assigned the task to watch for any suspicious movement of boats near the ship. These watchers, as they’re called, have to fight the heat, cold, and long-hours of watching before they can come in at reasonable intervals to cool off. This chapter is dedicated to issues facing seafarers at sea and pirates. Considering the risks involved in sailing in open seas, Captain Glen calls merchant navy as the ‘scums on Earth.
In chapter 7, the author looks at piracy at work and quotes Harvard Business School as saying that because of their managerial skills, Somali piracy was the best business model in 2000. Pirate attacks have left quite a few dead, and when they take hostages, they amputate arms and legs, or drag hostages tied to the ships sides or under water to demand ransom. She caught up with Chirag, an Indian, who was captured and later rescued from pirates, to understand his personal experience. It was terrifying, he claimed, and said that he was not safe in London either, as these pirates had good contacts her as well, and could get him.”I was terrified. For me to see these six monkeys with AK-47s; I thought my god, this is the end of the day,” was how Chirag described his encounter with the pirates. When a ship was captured, negotiations would begin, and it would go on for months at times, and the more the delay in the negotiations, the more the trouble was for the captives, remarked Chirag. They were at times confined to severe torture, and getting beaten was common. Since merchant ships flew company flags, no country would come to their rescue, and so, pirates had to negotiate with these companies. George goes on to name the ship that was captured for the longest time in history. MV Iceberg was held captive the longest because her owner deserted the ship. It took them years to get its release. When negotiations complete, says George, the money is paid through friendly banks in Dubai or some other port city that allows ransoms to be paid to kidnappers.
In chapter 8, George takes a look at the sanctuary, the place where merchant navy personnel relax and entertain themselves. It was during one such break that George reminiscence the life of a seafarer as that of being of extreme boredom. This view is supported by Pedro, who agrees that a seafarer’s life is “the toughest job and the loneliest.” Whenever they went on shore, seafarers would spend time in chaplains and Church institutes. Such sanctuaries are for refreshing minds and stocks. In Immingham for instance, sailors are cared for by a certain person called Colum. He makes it a point to ask visiting ship captains what they wanted and help them get them. Colum also talks about the need to intensify security at ports, and talks about how his port was once robbed, despite having a security system in place. In addition to talking about priests and parishes, George also talks about the life of seafarers who have to bear all the hardships at sea and never complain about it. Some are paid low salaries and some don’t get paid for months together. They fear that they would be blacklisted, thus running the risk of ending their career. Their lives are so harsh, that Colum, when he visits schools and churches, he tells them that they should do “anything to humanize this harsh industry.”