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In retrospect

It's hard sometimes to tell the difference between a pirate and a fisherman...


It's sad and troubling, of course, but piracy is nothing new in the Celebes and Sulu seas. I recall clearly admiring the small craft and beautiful sailing vessels which looked for all the world to me like something from another age. Being wooden, many didn't make good radar targets and in the glorious calm misty mornings were hard to track, but they looked positively poetic... The first time I transited those waters in the eighties, my lookout sniffed at me contemptuously as he explained 'Turd' (which is Tagalog for 'Third'!), and said ...they are not peaceful fishermen and traders, they are pirates... I think you had better make the ship like a snake'... he meant weave of course, which we did - even before I called the Master!'

Simon Beechinor