U.S. Navy Declassified Document – Released Under FOIA Request #3048b
Ship Class: Oil Tanker — Ship Name: Hailey’s Star — Captain: Josiah McHenry
Two weeks have passed since Hailey’s Star passed Cape Point and entered the Indian Ocean. The seas are calm and I hope to reach Thailand by the end of this month. The new crew seems to be getting along, and are all hard workers. Hopefully they stick around for a while.
The Hailey’s Star entered the coastal waters of Somalia this morning. I immediately ordered the crew to prepare all necessary defenses should Somali pirates target the ship. We are all aware that the pirates are targeting oil tankers now that the price of crude has spiked in recent weeks. The pirates sell the oil for millions on the black market. They usually kill the crew after they take control of the ship, since the oil is worth far more than a ransom could ever bring. I will be sure to pray for calm seas and a bit of luck to see us through to Thailand.
They have everyone. EVERYONE. Well, except for myself and Terry, the engine mechanic. I guess I should write everything down so people back home know what happened. The pirates got us just when I thought we were in the clear. Hailey’s Star cleared the Horn of Africa, and I thought that we had reached safe waters once more. I ordered the crew the stand down from their watch rotations and get some much-deserved rest. My first officer took over the helm of the ship and I ventured down to the engine room to go over the daily checklist with the Terry. We finished up the paperwork and I left him to do whatever he does down there all day. I climbed the stairs to the deck above when a strange alarm activated. I paused for moment, trying to remember what this alarm meant, and then it dawned on me. We only used this siren during pirate drills. My radio squawked at my side and I could hear the first officer screaming hysterically about pirates aboard the ship.
I immediately turned back towards the engine room. All engine rooms double as safe rooms aboard commercial ships passing through pirate infested waters. I rounded the corner and saw the fortified steel door to the engine room slam shut. I pounded my fist on the four inch plexi-glass and ordered the Terry to open the door. I could hear gunshots up above and slammed my fist into the door even harder. Footsteps pounded down the staircase and men shouted commands in a strange language. I told Terry he needed me to pilot the goddamn boat if he wanted to survive. The door swung inwards and I rushed inside. Terry slammed the door shut and I could hear the metallic cylinders of the door slide into place. I immediately ran to the emergency console and set it to override. The emergency panel in the engine room now controlled all navigation functions of the ship. A distress signal went up immediately and would signal our position to any international military ships in the area. Hopefully help arrives soon.
I haven’t slept in two days, and we have finished the last of the water. The screams keep me awake. Why don’t they just die? There is nothing I can do for my crew now. The savages have them, and I am trapped in this room with Terry. This safe room was not designed for long stays. We have no food, and only one water bottle each. I fear Terry is losing his mind.
The pirates must have found the GPS satellite system because the navigation equipment is now dead. We still have control of the engine but we have no idea where to steer the ship. We’ve been sitting dead in the water for the past two days. The navy must have heard our distress signal. I cannot understand why they have not saved us yet. There is no way that we have drifted that far from our last point of record.
This is living hell. We are trapped in this engine room. If we leave we meet certain death. The pirates have been skinning the crew alive. Right outside the engine room. Is that supposed to encourage us to leave the room? No way I am stepping out of that door. I would rather die of thirst than release myself to those savages.
Better to stay in here, even though Terry is out of his mind. He paces around the room in circles muttering to himself. When he’s not pacing, he stares out the window and watches as the pirates torture the crew. I used to think he was crying softly as he watched, but now I think he is laughing.
No food, no water, no sleep. Well maybe I’ve slept. It’s hard to tell where the nightmares end and reality begins. Terry is huddled in the corner staring at me. He is starting to frighten me. The last of the screams stopped yesterday. They found the tool locker, and have been trying to cut through the door for the last twelve hours with a blow-torch.
I need water. I think Terry is dead. The pirates left yesterday. They couldn’t get through the doors and gave up. The pirates welded the door shut before they left.
The US Navy is here. Someone went back for more tools. So weak I can barely think. Terry is not dead. He found a knife, and is peeling the skin off his face with it. He’s staring right at me, with a smile stretching ear to ear. Rivers of blood stream down his neck and onto his mechanic overalls. He looks like something out of a horror movie. Crimson bone where skin used to be, round eyeballs rotating in their sockets, facial muscles twitching in what can only be a deranged smile. He takes a step towards me, and rasps, “Your turn, Capt’n.”
End of Log
Commander Todd Reese, of the Destroyer Anderson.
Classified cable message to: Rear Admiral Jerry Lincoln
Received distress signal from Hailey’s Star, a Class 2 Oil Tanker, on September 7th, 2009. We were 200 miles from the ship, and modified course to intercept. Engaged seventeen Somali pirates trying to escape from the ship. Twelve pirates killed, five arrested.
Hailey’s Star had a crew of nine. We discovered seven crew member’s mutilated bodies in the hall way outside the engine room. Each crew member was tied up to the wall, and appears to have suffered prolonged torture by being skinned alive. The pirates welded the engine doors shut before leaving, however, we were quickly able to cut through the doors with our specialized saw. We suspect that the pirates tortured and killed the crew after discovering that the Captain of the Hailey’s Start had taken control of the ship from the engine room, and sealed the Captain inside the room after failing to open it with tools found aboard the Hailey Star.
Inside the engine room, we found the deceased Captain, he was also skinned alive in the same manner as the crew, despite being locked in the safe room. The ship’s mechanic, Terry Jackson, was discovered mutilating his own body, after having finished skinning the captain alive. Our hypothesis is that he was driven insane from watching his crewmates being tortured. He is currently sedated in our infirmary, and would require skin grafts over seventy-five percent of his body in order to survive, our naval base in Ethiopia is the closest medical center capable of providing the medical service necessary to save his life. This would require a Class Three Medevac by helicopter if the patient were to have a chance of surviving. As Commander of this vessel, I have rejected that option, and recommend that the entire crew of Hailey’s Star, including Terry Jackson, be buried at sea, and their families be told nothing of how they died.
Rear Admiral Jerry Lincoln, Asian Commandment
Classified cable message to: Commander Todd Reese
Recommendation approved. Discretely dispatch the individual named Terry Jackson and Somali prisoners, and bury at sea with rest of crew. Delete all records.