Ankur Varma, third officer on the oil tanker M/V Cotton, opened his cabin door at five minutes to midnight on July 14 to find two men pointing AK-47s at him.
“They just pushed me into the cabin with the guns in my chest and they told me to stay silent,” Varma said in a phone interview from India. “They were threatening, they were showing the guns, pointing at us. They took everything — everything that we had — including clothes, toiletries, electronics.”
They also took the ship’s cargo. The Maltese-flagged vessel was carrying about 10,000 tons of fuel oil belonging to France’s largest oil company when it was attacked by 15 pirates off the coast of Gabon in West Africa. The hijackers kept control of the tanker for seven days as they siphoned off the fuel.