Narwhal vs Atlantic Trader
A fight for cash!
10.000 USD to pay for the information, to possibly take 20.000.000 USD. That was not a bad gamble. In cash, not a stack of homogeneous 100 dollar bills, but a mix of anything between 1 and 500, because it was intended to be used by the general public.
It started with a tip from Armani, that he had a cousin who knew which ship, and when, would transport twenty million US Dollars in cash to Suriname. The cousin only wanted ten thousand US dollar in advance for the information.
Capt. Jacobson had been interested, very interested. He went to the library in Plage de Sable and checked all the major news sites from one of their free computers. He made sure to check many different articles, and printed out a random bunch of them, but he did not print the one about the planned shipment of cash.
It took Capt. Jacobson some convincing from the Pirate crew of the Narwhal to put together the required sum, as they were sceptical of yet another cousin from Armani, but for so far in their career Armani had always given them good leads.
With the knowledge that the Atlantic Trader would set sail from Houston, Texas in two weeks' time. Capt. Jacobson told Armani's cousin that they Narwhal would head for Houston too. To trail the ship on its crossing of the Gulf of Mexico.
But they didn't do that, the Narwhal set sail for the Swan Islands in the North East of the Caribbean sea. The Atlantic Trader would come south via the Yucatan Channel out of the Gulf of Mexico. To transfer the whole Caribbean sea to exit it by passing in between Trinidad and Tobago to go to Suriname. That was the shortest and most likely route.
And if it looked like the Atlantic Trader would head for the Straits of Florida, the Narwhal could move north through the Windward Passage to intercept.
Luck had timed it right, that the Atlantic Trader showed up on a clouded night. The visibility was horrible, with a slight drizzle. But that was perfect for what the pirates had planned. Traffic was low, other ships were miles away. They should be able to pull this off without anyone noticing.
The VHF radio, let out a small crackling before a voice came through loud and clear:
- All Ships, All Ships, All Ships, this is the United States Coast Guard, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Coast Guard, with a safety broadcast.
All Ships: There have been whale sightings in the Northern parts of the Caribbean seas. All ships are required to reduce their speed to 10 knots.
I repeat: There have been whale sightings in the Northern parts of the Caribbean seas. All ships are required to reduce their speed to 10 knots.
This was the United States Coast Guard, out.
Capt. Jacobson looked at Jack: "Damn you sounded convincing!" Which resulted in a big grin from Jack, while he returned the microphone of the radio.
The Narwhal was making three knots, basically floating, just north of the course line of the Atlantic Trader, as if they were on a course from George Town to the Swan Islands. On their radar they could see that the ship had indeed slowed down to 9.8 knots. The Narwhal was broadcasting on the AIS that they were a Sailing Yacht of 8 meters with 2 people on board named Sunday Fun. At the current speed, they would cross the bow of the Atlantic Trader just ten minutes ahead of them.
With the ship approaching in the darkness, they could see the navigation lights in the darkness aiming straight for them. And they saw the stern light of the Narwhal disappear to their left. The six pirates waited for the ship to run them over. But with the bow approaching, they started swimming, to get even closer. They had only once change. And if they missed, they could be sucked down in to the screw of the Atlantic Trader, to end up as minced meat fish food.
But both Michael and Lester were lucky on their first throw with the lines with grappling hooks, and the six were being dragged through the water when the lines came taught. Slowly, they managed to muscle their way against the water to climb up the ropes. And onto the side deck of the Atlantic Trader. There they hunched down, panting. That was way harder than they had anticipated.
The pirates waited about ten minutes, catching their breath. No one of the crew of the ship showed up on deck, no lights were turned on. They had climbed on board undetected. The weather conditions were in their favour. Now they hoisted up their lines and brought the bags which had been dragged along all with the ships up to deck.
After they had bought the information from Armani's cousin. Capt. Jacobson had sent Eloise Morgan to the United states by plane. There she had witnessed the Atlantic trader being loaded and had seen that she only carried a single shipping container on deck. There had been nothing in the hold, nothing else on deck, just a single container on the edge of the deck.
Now the six pirates made their way over to that container. As usual in shipping, it was positioned with the doors to the aft, so that any waves couldn't bash the doors in. Which was in their favour with the bridge of the Atlantic Trader on the forward, not overlooking the cargo deck. Lester made quick work of picking the padlock that held the doors closed. And together with Aleksey, he pulled one of the doors of the container open. Inside, they were greeted by four pallets wrapped in plastic. Pilled full of cash dollar bills. Lester couldn't help but laugh, which quickly resulted in a slap on the head from Michael.
They cut open the first of the plastic wrapped containers and quickly started filling the duffel bags they had brought. One after another, the bags started filling. Michael kept a lookout around the container and Aleksey was tying the bags together with the lines they had used to climb up the ship. After they had worked their way through, the first three pallets they had run out of bags.
"What do we do now? Lester asked.
-"Leave it closed. Trow the three empty pallets overboard and remove the plastic. We'll lock the container. I don't think the crew will look inside." Michael decided. We should have fifteen mille now. We can't take that last five dry anyway.
This was a dangerous moment of the operation. The pirates had seen that towards the back of the ship the railings were removable chain. And Michael had run aft, in full sight of the bridge. He couldn't hide behind the container like they did before. And in the shadow of the funnel, he opened one section of chain. A soft whistle from him and he could see four guys coming running towards him Aleksey's huge silhouette in the lead, dragging the lines with the duffels with them. They quickened in a run and jumped straight off the back of the ships into the turbulent water that was being kicked up by the screw of the ship. A few seconds later Lester came running too. He had closed and locked the container again. Michael redid the chain and then jumped too.
The water turned him round and round, pulling him under. Seawater was up his nose, in his eyes. He gasped for air but only got water in. His arms and legs were pulled away from his body, and in his ears he heard the chop chop chop sound of the screw. Finally, he managed to pull the rope of his inflatable life jacket and his head came above the waves. Michael was disorientated for a good second, but then heard Aleksey calling out to him.
The six pirates gathered together, used the lines to tie themselves together so not one could float off into the darkness. All six of them had inflated their jackets, and the automatic life jackets they had attached to the duffels floated in a string next to them. It took longer than expected, but when the sky started to clear in the Twilight the group made out the silhouette of the Narwhal, and soon they were hoisted on board.
The Narwhal had continued its journey to the Swan Islands, and they were laughing as they were counting the money in the hold. They had taken fourteen million in a random assortment of bills. The Atlantic Trader had continued on its merry way and as far as they knew, they didn't know what had happened.
Now they needed to hurry and get lost from here, before the Atlantic Trader docked in Suriname and the theft was discovered, so the very same evening they left again, to lie low for a while.
It was a full day after the Atlantic Trader had dischared the container that it was discovered that not everything that was loaded into the container was there anymore. But the ship had already left Suriname, and they were heading for the Cape of Good Hope to find their next cargo.
Trading for Profit Shipping Company send Hugo Dijkstra to represent the company to Suriname to find out what was going on. The ship was searched from top to bottom, all man holes were unbolted, nothing was found. The onboard CCTV recordings were analyzed, but that had only saved the last seven days, and there was nothing to see.
The authorities could only conclude that the money had gone missing somewhere between closing and opening the container. The Atlantic Trader was most likely not to blame. And the insurance covered it all.
Sneaky! Is one of the answers.