Thursday, February 02, 2006

She was just a bit nasty. I was impressed!

It had been a long deployment. We were on station enforcing a UN security council embargo which involved interderdiction, boarding and inspection of vessels. Month after month of a tedious routine had been punctuated by the occasional uncooperative crew and the odd "runner" as we came to call those ships which attempted to breach the blockade.

In two days, we would be turning to depart our operating area and settling in for the long voyage home. We had been hoping to be sent to the outer enforcement zone, a slightly less active area and an opportunity to get some interior cleaning done.

It was not to be. We were ordered to intercept, hail, board and inspect a small cargo ship heading for the port being blocked. Our ship went to an increased level of readiness and brought one of the specially-trained boarding parties to the ready.

Our target, after some considerable intership communications and a final threat of force, eventually hove to. The boarding party was dispatched and, despite the lack of cooperation, took control of the ship, gathered the crew on the forward deck and started to interview the ship's officers. It became apparent that not all of the crew was contained.

The boarding party scrambled to action. The boarding officer radioed back that they were having a little difficulty with the crew. Within a few minutes two more members of the crew were dragged out of the lower decks and placed amongst the remainder on the foredeck. One was holding a towel to his face. From there, the boarding went normally.

The boarding party returned to our ship and started turning in weapons and ammunition. One of the leading hands on team, a young woman, asked for a cleaning rag. Someone handed her a shop towel and she wiped away what appeared to be blood from the butt of her rifle. I asked her how that had come to be and she explained that one of the boarded ship's crew had been hiding in a crew cabin. When she ordered him out he produced a knife.

"We're too close to going home to fuck around with an asshole like that, so I butt-stroked him," she said. "The little prick won't be using that mouth for a while."

I guess she was feeling a bit obstreperous. Good thing. She was one helluva good sailor and it made for a nice safe boarding.

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