I wish to write a book on a life experience during the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait of 1990.
"TRAPPED BETWEEN THE DEVIL & THE DEEP BLUE SEA"
"FROM JAWS OF DEATH TO CROWNING GLORY"
Attached for your kind perusal are a few newspaper clippings from around the world, regarding my rescue mission of 1990. I was then the Captain of the Panamanian Cargo ship, m.v. 'SAFEER'. On that fateful day of 2nd August 1990, I was captured at gun point, along with my entire crew and ship, by the invading Iraqi forces, at Shuwaikh Port, in Kuwait. Throughout our 35 days ordeal in captivity, we were completely cut off from the outside world, (with neither any contact with our families, nor any contact outside the port area), and our lives were in constant danger, as we all faced an uncertain future.
However through sheer determination, persuasion and extremely patient & diplomatic yet firm handling of the Iraqi authorities, I not only managed to get my crew and ship released by the Iraqis (without any help from either the fleeing local company agents, or the local embassy, which offered very limited assistance), but more importantly, also safely evacuated about 725 stranded Indian expats from Kuwait on board my cargo ship, without any casualties. Bearing in mind that my ship was a cargo vessel and unsuitable to carry passengers, the comfort and safety of the excess number of persons boarding was of paramount importance under the circumstances. Hence I had to build a number of basic infrastructure facilities from scratch; like extra makeshift toilets, additional drinking water facilities etc.(in the height of the Gulf summer), for the voyage from Kuwait to Dubai, with whatever limited resources I could garner from a devastated city, and almost overnight converted the cargo ship to a passenger ship. She was the first ship, and the first batch of refugees, after the invasion, who came out of Kuwait, safely and free of charge, on humanitarian grounds, (although I was offered substantial amounts of cash, and other token gifts, which I flatly refused to accept, as each car offered, would have deprived at least 10 persons of a place on board my ship).
Sadly, this humanitarian act, in putting my own life at risk, navigating through mined waters, as well as the risk of losing my job and licence, has so far gone unacknowledged and unappreciated by the concerned international Maritime Organizations and other concerned Government Authorities, inspite of the worldwide media coverage (BBC, CNN, Gulf News, Voice of America etc.) of the incident, at that time.
Capt. Zain Juvale