Croatian Niger Delta Hostage Story

Jurica Ruic, a 35 year old who’s a graduate of the Nautical School in Zadar, Croatia and the faculty of Maritime Sciences and Maritime Management in Split, Croatia, went through an unthinkable journey being manipulated and slowly tortured by pirates. This is his story.

Pirates, their unmistakable, diligent, mind warping techniques, and threats to avid sailors, makes ocean waters feel less inviting. Back in May of 2007 Ruic was on a normal mission with work. “My vessel which is an FSO unit (floating storage and offloading) was moored 25 nautical miles SW(southwest) offshore Niger Delta,” said Ruic with clarity.

Ruic and the crew were guarded by 5 or 6 security boats who all needed refueling with a civilian crew and 2-3 MOPOL (the Nigerian mobile police force) officers onboard each. They disappeared without any notification 2 days prior to the attack. “In my view, I think this explains a lot,” Ruic said believing their leaving without notice was an omen.

Zipping by on speedboats, with 6 to 8 pirates on board of each, they attacked the FSO unit. Heavily armed with rocket propelled grenades, AK 47s, dynamite sticks, C4 explosives, and M58 machine guns, the pirates demanded the whites to surrender.

Raffaelle the captain, Ignazio the chief mate, Alfonso the mooring master, Mario the second mate, John the terminal supervisor and Jurica the second mate were forced away from their home on the sea. Reality started to sink in.

Ruic felt nothingness, almost as if feeling a sense of numbness had been replaced in his mind. Moreover, his company did not prepare him for a possible attack like the one he and his colleagues were trekking through.

“I was held hostage for 33 days. It was a military camp in the middle of the jungle,” said Jurica as he also recalls sleeping in a tent and eating rice and water unfit for any living thing. The living conditions were next to none as there was no hygienic availability or real food.

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Article written by Sarah Neary, courtesy of The Voice of Russia.

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