21Feb2020Headlines:

Prison ship

Prison ships were also known as the ghost ships. These ships were built to carry prisoners who were convicted for grave crimes. It was definitely something absolutely against human rights. Today we do not get to see many of these. They have become something of the past and hidden in the pages of history. We thought that it would be interesting to bring to the notice of the readers the very interesting concept of the prison ship that does not exist anymore.

Many countries have been using the concept of prison ship for ages. However, the concept became more popular under the British army. As we all know that the island nation of Britain at one point in time ruled almost all the nations across the globe. There was a popular saying that the sun never goes down in Britain. It was a powerful nation that believed in absolute autocratic rule. Anyone who spoke or went against the monarch was punished no matter who they were. The British rule in most of the nations has been the one of master and slave. At one point there were too many prisoners for the British army to keep in the prison that is why they started to look for ways to control the number of prisoners. They would put the convicts into these prison ships and send them to other parts of the world where the jails had some space. The prisoners did not know where they were taken to and if they would ever be able to visit their motherland.

At one time the royal navy decided to convert 40 ships to prison ships all at the same time. This figure can help us imagine how many prisoners the British army had at that time. These ships were old and the interiors were in such a bad shape that the prisoners started to die of diseases and neglect. There was no food and water. Too many prisoners were put in each of the ships that they did not have any space to even breathe. There was lack of fresh air and sanitation in all these ships. During the American war of independence more people died in these prison ships due to neglect and absolutely unhygienic conditions. Many have seen the condition of the prisoners in these ships and have written about the same. That is exactly why today we know about how these people on the prison ships were treated.

During the American war of independence alone 11500 men and women died in these prison ships. The figure could only be more. The dead were lowered from the ship with the help of a rope. As if they were beasts and not humans. At the shore a hole was dug that was nothing more than one to two feet deep and all the bodies were buried together. Each day in the morning about 8 to ten such bodies were disposed of like this.

Many books and novels were also written on the prison ships for example “Great expectations”. Many say that the horrors that are associated with the British prison ships were just exaggeration. Primarily hard-core criminals were transported in these ships. The percentage of death in these ships was below 8% which is quite reasonable. Deaths in these ships were inevitable because of the poor living conditions. It was just used to show the prisoners how they would be punished in case they went against the monarch. Many freedom fighters were also put into these ships. In India many freedom fighters were put in these ships and sent to Kala pani or Andaman Nicobar Islands. On these Islands the British had built a huge prison that could accommodate many. Savarkar was also taken to this prison. There are many freedom fighters who had documented the condition of these prison ships and how they were treated in it. The documentations clearly mention that the conditions in these ships were not good and not all the prisoners in these prison ships actually reached the island.

Even today many countries use a prison ship but that is to only keep some prisoners when the jails are full. These prisoners get the same quality of accommodation like the ones in the proper jail. Some countries use these ships to keep prisoners who can be very dangerous for the society and can escape from a normal jail. It is obvious that escaping from a prison ship is not easy as there is only water all around. The prison ships that the British army used were definitely against all human rights and good that these ships will perhaps never appear in human history again.

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I love to write about seas, marine and related stuff

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