Imprisoned by Duty - The Warrior's Journey®

Imprisoned by Duty

Author: David Causey, USA (Ret.)

USS West Virginia departs Norfolk Naval Shipyard.. Photo by The U.S. Navy is licensed under CC By 2.0

It was a job that turned into a nightmare.

In January 2017, seasoned sailor Nikesh Rastogi of Mumbai, India accepted command of a ship, the Malaviya Twenty. This assignment did not promise to be adventurous, but monotonous. Rastogi was to captain a ship moored in Great Yarmouth, England. The Malaviya’s owners were unable to pay their bills or the crew. So the port authorities “arrested” the ship (i.e., kept it from leaving port).

When Rastogi and a skeleton crew of three arrived on board, the original crew returned to India, without receiving payment. Captain Rastogi’s orders were to remain on board until the tangled mess of legalities was sorted out, then sail the ship back to India. This promised to take place within a matter of weeks.

But things got worse. The company which ran the shipping line fell into liquidation. The company sold its assets—ships in ports around the world—to various governments. The money used to pay port fees, legal costs, and its crews. But the legal wrangling between India and the world-wide ports threatened to drag on indefinitely. Captain Rastogi’s job had taken a dramatically dark turn.

Dealing With Uncertainty

The captain admonished his crew to make the best of it. They would conduct daily maintenance on the ship to pass the time. They would also take on-line classes, read books, and write home to their families. The Great Yarmouth port chaplain also worked tirelessly to give them moral support. He organized food drives to bring them sustenance and collected gifts for the holidays. As long as the crew remained on board they would get paid—at least for the duration of their contract—twelve months.

A full year passed by without resolution. At this point the contracting agency cancelled their contract. If Captain Rastogi remained on board, it would be at his own expense. There was the chance that the legal problems might be adjudicated and the ship sold. Then he and his crew could be paid. Yet how long would this take? It was a gamble to stay on board.

Yet port authorities warned him that if he left the ship it would take on the status of a “derelict.” This meant that anyone could claim the ship or damage it. As the ship’s last captain, Rastogi would bear some of the culpability. Therefore, he was trapped aboard a ship, imprisoned by duty. For the next six months Captain Rastogi and his faithful crew would serve without pay.

Finally, at the end of July 2018, Captain Rastogi’s nightmare came to an end. The UK Government took possession of the ship and plans to sell it for over $1 million. He and his crew of three would receive payment for their last six months of duty and fly home to India where they plan to fill up on Indian food.

Our Own Prisons

Do you ever feel trapped, imprisoned by a sense of duty and love? Maybe you’re chained to a loveless relationship. You’d gladly leave but, for the sake of your children, you remain faithful. Maybe you’re stuck in a thankless job and your career has turned bitter. But your sense of duty will not allow you to abandon your responsibilities. Perhaps you’re under the heel of circumstances and there’s no sign of relief in sight.

God sees your circumstances and knows the burden you bear. He knows your breaking point and promises not to push you beyond it (1 Cor. 10:13). To you Jesus calls, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart. And you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt. 11:28–30).

The Lord Jesus does not tell us to abandon our responsibilities, but to face them with His strength. Christ has the power to change our circumstances or to get us through them. In Psalm 55 King David expressed the desire to “fly away” from the relentless pressure of the kingdom and find a place of escape (Ps. 55:4–8). But that was not God’s answer. Ultimately, David found relief by asking God to carry his burdens. “Cast your burden upon the LORD,” David wrote, “and He will sustain you. He will never allow the righteous to be shaken” (Ps. 55:22).

Don’t abandon your position and responsibilities. Reach out and connect with the Almighty, who will renew your strength. He will empower you to walk and not faint, to run and not grow weary, and to mount up with wings like an eagle (Isa. 40:31).


Dear Father in heaven, here and now I cast my burdens and my anxieties upon You. I trust in Your love, that You will never allow harm to befall me. Yes, I trust in Your faithfulness that You will never fail or abandon me. I trust in Your wisdom, that You will always arrive at the most perfect end in the most perfect way. And I trust Your power that You can turn my night into day—or give me songs of joy through the night. Even if I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For You are always with me. Amen.

Information from:
In article photos in order of appearance: USS Nitze arrives in Port Louis, Mauritius by the U.S. Navy licensed under U.S. Govt. Work

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