Attack by Malabar Pirates

Leaving Bombay in command of the Dispatch in late 1680 with a cargo of rise for Muscat in Oman a storm blew up and Captain Thomas Bowrey was blown further from the shore than planned. The small ketch with her small crew was crippled when main mast was damaged. Vulnerable, they hoped to return to the safety of Bombay but the winds were against them. They headed to Goa instead.

Just off shore they were attacked by the pirates and were unable to put up any resistance because their powder was wet following the storm. The attack started 30 minutes before sunset and the pirates stayed with them through the night. Fearing for the lives of the Europeans on board Thomas, John Dunaway, a Portuguese boy and three lascars, local native seamen, stealthily slipped into their boat at 3:00 a.m. and silently rowed towards the shore.

They left eleven more lascars on board. When the sun rose the six in the boat witnessed the pirates board the Dispatch. Thomas and the others successfully made their escape but it took five days of hard rowing to reach Goa. Forty days later, several of the lascars left on board the Dispatch arrived in Goa from the port of “Burgara” where they had been stranded by the pirates. The lascars confirmed the pirates had intended to kill Thomas and Dunaway had they remained on board.

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