Dire Straits

They came at three o'clock on a moonless morning, a dozen men dressed in black, faces covered by balaclavas, hurling ropes and grappling hooks up onto the decks of the Dewi Madrim and swarming up the ship's sides. As his cohorts smashed in the windows of the bridge with their automatic rifles, one of the men pinned the sole officer on duty in a corner and pressed the barrel of a pistol to his head. "They asked him to tell them where the rest of the crew were," recounts the chemical tanker's captain at the time, Surahmat Johar. "I was sleeping...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!