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Three Monkeys on Seafaring: See, Hear and Speak No Evil about Drugs and Gold Trade

Updated on November 7, 2011

A Plunge to Sea Controversies

Year 2001...

Sailor and the rest of the crew and officers were called by the master for a toolbox meeting. It was not an ordinary working day as they approached the waters of Japan in Okinawa prefecture.

" We are going to discharge pentane at the Yokaichi port," said the captain.

"Safety measures are already posted by third mate. I also want galley personnel to put the rest of the vinegar at the bonded store, including pornographic materials," further explained by the master.

Sailor wondered why vinegar was included for the restrictions being implemented on board ship.

Later on, during dinnertime, fourth engineer told him that acetic acid present in the vinegar is an additive in making illegal drugs, as in shabu or poor man's cocaine which is always associated with transient seafarers whose ships are en route to mainland China, especially in Hongkong.

At the crew's salon, sailor and the rest of the Filipino crew collected the porno CDs/DVDs and magazines. In addition to it, boxes of vinegar were also added to the bunch of bonded items.

Three days after, the company's superintendent boarded the panamax tanker for further supervision of the crew and officers.

Galley personnel were ordered to closely watch stevedores who stayed at the extra cabins for illegal activities. A routine check was conducted, although a laxity on inspecting items inside their bags was noticed at the gangway by the master.

Most the crew went ashore come dinner time, including the sailor who just set the table for the night watch.

Ship operation were conducted properly by Japanese personnel. They're all praised with the performance of both officers and the crew as they observed proper protocol in the three departments, deck, engine and catering.

As the ship departed for its next route to the Persian Gulf, the captain conducted another safety meeting for a more stricter implementation regarding safety.

"We will be approaching Saudi Arabian waters in two week's time. All religious items should be put inside the bonded store," he stressed.

"As usual, porno materials plus vinegar are included. We cannot serve beer as it is also prohibited."

"Take extra precaution when talking with their personnel. They're very clever."

The first three months of voyage was the adjustment period for the sailor. He'd been absorbing all information that he could digest and store in his diary for future use.

There are many sordid tales that senior sailor have experienced.

He'd been longing to share it to the world for many sailors sold their souls to the devil in exchange of quick money for their family and lifestyle.

Those three monkeys are not to be keep silent for long. Those stories should be revealed at the proper venue and audience.

Extra precaution will be added to the prayers of the sailor for the truth to surface, even it will endanger his life as illegal elements frolic online for possible batch of victims that they can enslave in exchange for their gains.

'Hot' ship nabbed at Istanbul, Turkey (Year 2008) (Photo by thesailor)
'Hot' ship nabbed at Istanbul, Turkey (Year 2008) (Photo by thesailor)

The Drug Malady

Many lives were claimed by illegal drugs. Even professionals became rotten in their dispositions in their lives as the luster of money enslave them.

The boatswain or popularly known as bosun manages all the work at the superweather deck. He is also responsible for safekeeping all tools and paints for hot and cold work for his department.

He's also keeping a very bad and dangerous secret. Illegal drugs!!!

The container vessel sailed from China to Colombia, two nations that are considered 'hotspost' for illegal drug production and shipment.

The so-called Hongkong triad is still very much in operation, although series of successful drug bust were conducted. But they can never pinpoint the true kingpin of the drug ring. Authorities, international police or interpol and drug enforcement agencies can never nail down top heads of the underworld.

The bosun was threading on dangerous waters that will affect every crew on board, including the officers and the master himself.

Once get caught red-handed, whether the drugs are stashed on the enclosed spaces of the vessel or welded at the outer body of the ship, the master and other high-ranking officers will be put to jail, until the intervention of the maritime court occurred.

The container vessel unloaded almost half of the reefers and empty boxes at the port of Cartagena, Colombia. All were in anticipation to go ashore for fun and night entertainment by local beauties.

Meanwhile, the messman went back to his cabin to get dress. At the alleyway or corridor, he noticed the bosun with a bulging overall. He was in a hurry, not noticing the messman until he bumped unto him and a package with white content dropped on the floor.

"Bosun, what are you doing," asked the bewildered messman.

"You don't see anything, boy," warned the bosun.

The messman quickly wento into his cabin. Locked it, then called the captain who's resting in his cabin, too.

Hazy but fast track scenes happened as the master called for the proper authorities.

They found out that his ship was carrying hundreds of kilos of shabu, poor man's cocaine that was also headed for Spain.

The future of the bosun was already sealed. In jail. His family will have to work for themselves and accept the effects of the shameful news that besieged them back home.

This is only one of the many recorded accounts regarding illegal drugs. It is now included in the video for pre-departure orientation seminar (PDOS) that is being conducted before a batch of sailors work overseas.

There's always a sad note to those who committed suicides on board ship just to evade the arms of the law.

Missing bodies of sailors were never recovered as they fell to the trap of these drug syndicates all over the world.

The Gold Connection

It's some kind of an urban legend among seafarers, but one personal account attested that it really exists, until now. Although, it is always operated in a very discreet or secretive manner.

Whispers of 'white gold' starts at the shores of Asia, especially in Singapore. It is being transported by selected seamen to Madras, India (now Chennai) in exchange for huge amount of money.

All sailors who underwent this gold trap are identified by the syndicate that even their families are being threatened once this kind of modus operandi comes out in the media.

The seaman who told this to me only inherited it from his father who's already ailing and in need of medical treatment. He was forced to do it, in order to pay his father's debt to the syndicate.

He narrated the suspense of transporting those gold bouillon or bars under his overall or pasted all over his body.

Guards at the port never suspected that a bribery of one ream of cigarettes will mean million dollar amount of gold were being transported by those 'brave' sailors without having to pay excise tax for this kind of luxury.

He only told me once about it and the rest of our journey, he seemed to be aloof with what he revealed to me.

Monkey Businesses proliferates on board ships

There are many sorts of illegal businesses happening on board ship. It includes flesh trade that poses danger to all seafarers with regards to their health, as in becoming an AIDS carrier.

With the implementation of International Ship Security and Port Facility Code or ISPS after 9/11, the going ins and outs of personnel, crew and officers of the particular vessel are well-documented.

Log book is very important that it becomes the black book of the ship, since you can see tha accurate record of how the operation started and commenced or when did a particular sailor went out or stepped down the gangway of the ship.

Seafarers are like magnets of opportunities to all illegal people who want to transact business aboard the ship.

With the help of a more stricter set of laws and regulations, there will be a more safer environment to all seafarers who are legally working both in local and international waters.

There are many horror stories to tell based from accounts of my co-sailors.

This time, this hub should be enough for the authorities to investigate more on the authenticity of those narratives.


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    • thesailor profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Seven Seas

      Thank you for appreciating this story-confession, Sir nick071438.

      There are many sailors who are lured into those traps of illegal drugs and the like. I hope they take the hint and reveal those temptations so that others will avoid such anomalies.

    • nick071438 profile image


      7 years ago from City of Catbalogan, W, Samar, Philippines

      thank you- the sailor- for the litany of illegal activities committed by sailors plying the domestic and international route. This provides me quite a detailed picture of how the illegal drugs are carried on. To me this confession is gospel truth having come directly from a horse' mouth. My heart goes to the poor syndicate victims and the missing sailors who have committed themselves to the devil. Lawful authorities, please do your level best to protect our sailors from the bondage of illicit drugs. Sailors, pray for divine intervention. Jesus Christ will not fail you.


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