Hassan Sabrah hadn’t eaten in four days.
That’s when the chief engineer of the Moldova-flagged cargo ship JSM finally snapped, according to interviews with sailors, the port manager and local residents. He picked up a rock and hit his captain on the back of the head. Before the ship’s cook could pull Sabrah away, the captain’s blood was everywhere.
The attack came Aug. 2, after the 218-foot (67-meter) JSM had been tethered in the Greek port of Kiato for more than five months. A Greek court had refused to let the ship leave after a deadly harbor accident. The freighter’s owner couldn’t be reached, according to the captain, and there was no money for salaries or supplies. The ship had no electricity. The toilets didn’t work. Sabrah and the other nine crew members didn’t know if they’d ever make it home, they said.