(Acts Chapter 27)
“Captain, is there no way we can save this ship
without throwing the cargo overboard?
These containers are my entire life!”
I was shouting and screaming.
How in the world is this happening to me?
I am a business man. I buy and sell goods.
I import clothes and shoes and sell.
I bring in these goods in containers every
The turnover is good and I live a fairly comfortable life.
I was not the only one.
Alhaji Sambo has loads of containers with
exotic vehicles for his clients.
He also imports them to sell to his clients
who are mostly politicians.
They pre-order these vehicles from him and
he personally gets them.
He does not delegate anybody to handle
this for him because of the clout of his
There was also Chief Emeka who has over
a dozen containers filled with spare parts
of all kinds of vehicles.
Another guy whose name I can’t remember
also has containers on board.
I think he brings in cartons of wines and juices.
And the lady whose containers contain fabrics.
She’s already fainted. Her heart could not
handle the pain. I wish I could faint too,
better to be unconscious than seeing your
entire life crumble before you…
The captain’s voice jolted me back to reality.
“I’m sorry there’s not much else I can do.
I am more interested in saving lives than goods.
I have 276 people on board this ship.
Under the Geneva Treaty, saving lives takes
preeminence over saving goods sir.
I am very sorry- we have no other choice but
to lighten the ship by throwing the cargo
And that was it.
By an executive fiat, the ship’s captain
ordered the containers to be offloaded
into the sea.
We all stood there, watching all our lives
work thrown away…
The captain stood there with us muttering,
“But who would have known this would happen?
The weather report gave us reason to believe
we would not meet with this storm on the high sea…”
Chief Emeka turned and stared at him.
I could see the anger in his eyes.
“Who could have known?
Captain, don’t even go there!
Who could have known?
Did that prisoner not tell you not to sail?
Did he not tell you he perceived this journey
would be like this? If you had listened to him,
we wouldn’t be here having this discussion!
See all my containers! All gone!”
The captain tried defending himself:
“But Chief, you must know that I have
been sailing for over 30 years, been the
captain of this ship for 10. I have over
Chief’s eyes were blazing by now.
“Shut up! Who cares how many knots you have?
The problem with you people is, you trust too
much in your knowledge! How did an ordinary
prisoner see this storm and you, an experienced
sailor didn’t? what does he know that you don’t?
Captain cleared his throat.
I noticed he picked his words with care-
he didn’t want to aggravate the situation.
“Chief, I don’t know who that prisoner is,
I have never met him before until that
soldier brought him and the others on board.
Yes, he said he perceived the ship would run
into a storm, but should I have taken a decision
based on the words of a prisoner?
Especially when the facts on ground are contrary
to his perception?
Alhaji Sambo interjected, “Ok, what is the
guarantee this ship won’t sink, even after
throwing away all these containers?
What comfort can you give us? It would be
double trouble if we lose our goods and lose
our lives! Madam Tinuke has already fainted,
there’s no guarantee she’ll recover from that.
What is the way forward now?
This storm is not relenting and it seems it is
even getting worse.”
The captain said he had sent out some
May Day calls and he is sure help is on the way.
“Let’s be optimistic we will get some help soon.”
Suddenly I had an idea:
“Where is that prisoner?
If he could perceive this storm a few days
before it happened, he may know what is
ahead of us.
Please, bring him out, he may be able to
perceive something else!”
Everybody agreed with me. The captain talked
with the soldier in charge of the prisoners.
They spoke for a few minutes and the prisoner
was brought out.
The Captain approached him: “Good day sir…”
In that moment, a wry smile played on my lips.
I remembered a few days ago when this
prisoner told the captain he perceived
this journey would run into a storm, the
captained eyed him like he was mad.
He even asked him sarcastically,
“You perceive my ship will hit a storm?
Did you perceive you would be a prisoner
Now, same captain is calling same prisoner,
“Sir”!What an irony.
“Sir, sorry for not taking your advice before
we sailed. Please, do you have any idea
what will happen to us all?”
The prisoner smiled.
“You should have listened to me before
we sailed out of Crete…”
Ah! Now he’s rubbing it in.
He continued, “If you had, you wouldn’t
have lost all these goods. But don’t worry,
gentlemen- nobody will die in this storm.
We will lose the ship, but we will not lose
anybody, even madam Tinuke!”
This guy has a strange sense of humor!
“The angel of God whose I am and who
I serve stood by me this night and told me
God will spare all your lives because of me.
Be cheerful, I believe God will do as he told me.”
This guy hears from God?
Next time I hear anyone say, “I perceive…”
I will do well to take him seriously!
- Haruna Daniels