Paul woke up the following morning close to the main harbour at Livorno. He looked to the notes on the Athena and the information that Isabella had given him. None of it made any sense. Many questions still nagged at him, what was the Athena and why was Giovanni here in Livorno?
He turned his head out of the window and noticed large cargo ships going past. Paul shook his head thinking it was to obvious and he drunk some more of his coffee and his instincts told him to check it out.
He and Kimmy both walked on a foggy morning to the ships registry office. Kimmy asked a middle aged gentleman sat behind a dark panelled walnut desk about the Athena and they were told that no ship existed.
Then they walked to the local library and looked at microfiche's of local articles scouring for any mention of the ship. A couple of hours into the search Paul found a picture of the Athena.
The article dated under the 5th February 1979 mentioned the Athena. Paul looked to Kimmy. Their was only two possibilities, that the records were deliberately missing or they had been lost due to clerical error. They then returned to the ships registry office and asked for details of the Athena. The middle aged man wasn't pleased that they had come back.
Their were records and Paul looked at the Athena and saw that it was a registered cargo vessel owned by a private company called Mediterranean Shipping Services. Kimmy looked to the article and saw that the name looked familiar.
Paul looked to Kimmy "What's up?"
Kimmy "This name, Mediterranean Shipping Services it has come up before?"
Paul asked "Where?"
Kimmy looked at him "The company disbanded not long after the Athena sank. They operated out of the port for more than ten years and regularly had cargo coming in from Africa."
Paul was intrigued "What does this mean?"
Kimmy continued "This company is possibly a front of the Brethren. We had our suspicions but this confirms it."
Paul stroked his chin "If this is a ship carrying cargo. Their would surely be records of what it carried and who was on board."
Kimmy returned to the shipping desk and requested the cargo and crew manifest for the Athena. Paul then heard a furious exchange in Italian that he couldn't make out. Kimmy returned to the room smiling.
Paul could see that Kimmy had a look of amusement on his face "What was that about?"
Kimmy "He complained to me by saying that the records would take days. I argued that they were urgent."
Paul said "He gave in just like that?"
Kimmy smiled "That and a bundle of lire notes."
Paul said nothing and Kimmy handed him the crew and cargo manifests. Paul looked through it and quickly found that the Athena was carrying nothing unusual apart from agricultural equipment bound for the Libyan port of Tripoli.
Their attention then turned to the crew manifest. Their was a list of twenty people and two passengers were being carried.
Two names leaped out immediately and both had the Rosinni name. The name confirmed Giovanni travelling to Libya two days before the ship sank. The other name was Isabella's.
Paul scratched his head. He had seen Isabella only a few days earlier. How can their be two Isabella's?
Was this coincidence Paul wondered and he double checked the name and saw that Isabella went on the same journey with Giovanni to Libya. Two days later the ship went down with all hands and it sank because the Captain was drunk on duty. Paul's journalistic instincts kicked in and he could sense a story beginning to emerge as threads forged in his mind about Giovanni's death and the loss of the Athena. Yet still their were doubts and many questions unanswered. Paul scanned the paperwork and he found the address of the Captains house located in Castiglioncello and it was fifteen miles south from Livorno.
The address was the most recent that was available. Paul hoped he wasn't at the wrong address. He knocked on the door and looked at the arched porch and admired the teak stained door.
The door was opened by an elderly woman in her late eighties. Kimmy translated but the lady spoke back.
Kimmy looked back towards Paul who stood silently "She's happy to talk and she speaks English."
Paul asked "What's her name?"
The lady smiled "Rositta."
They walked into a small cottage that overlooked crystal blue waters that glistened in the winter sun. The lounge was of a modest size with small blue furniture and jigsaws lining the walls. Their was little in the way of comforts with only a radio on a corner table.
They all sat down as Paul got out his notepad.
Rositta "How can I help you Mr Spencer?"
Paul sat down and looked to Rositta his eyes were serious with a deep curiosity "I came about your husband, Captain Tiberius."
Rositta sat down and nodded "I thought as much."
She stared out of the window and returned her gaze towards Paul. "Their's not much more I can say. Everything you need is in the press archives."
Paul responded with a serious look "I don't believe the records and I want to hear your story about what happened and what he was like.”
Rositta paused for a moment and thought about what Paul said. "Very well. I will talk. I am getting old Mr Spencer. As you get older you think about things that have been done, as well as the regrets you carry. It is time for the truth. Were do you want to start?"
Paul was ready and he laid his pen on his notepad "Tell me about the night he died."
Rositta sat and stared at the unlit fire as memories of that night came sharply into view "It was a cool night. For winter it was still and calm. Tiberius walked out of this house and he said goodbye for the final time. Two days later I hear the ship had gone down with all hands. The inquiry said it was to do with Tiberius drinking."
Paul asked "Was it?"
Rositta replied "My husband did drink but at sea he didn't touch the stuff and he knew from other sailors the damage that alcohol could do on a ships crew."
Paul laced his fingers together as he paused for a moment "If the ship didn't sink because of drunken misconduct then what do you think it was?"
Rositta look towards Paul with an expressionless face "I do not know Mr Spencer. My husband had no enemies and no one had a harsh word against him. My guess is that it was sabotage."
Kimmy was intrigued "Sabotage?"
Rositta looked to Kimmy as her eyes narrowed "I have thought about this long and hard. It wasn't the crew but something about the ship."
Paul sat still for a moment "What about the ship?"
Rositta "A week before my husband sailed he noticed two people looking around the ship and thought nothing of it until he was approached by them. He talked to me about how they wanted to ship something over and they were willing to pay cash. My husband agreed as money was tight and agreed to ship them on Monday 15th Jan 1979 departing eleven am and he would return on the Thursday night. He said that they were odd but didn't say why. When you work on ships you see all types of people and my husband thought nothing more of it."
The interview lasted another hour and Rositta talked of her love of growing flowers and walking the local hills and she had a proud family with four grown up children living in Rome. Paul and Kimmy left the old lady and thanked her for the interview. Paul knew that the sinking had something to do with Giovanni.
For Paul their was only question. What was on the boat?
Paul wasn't sure what but he was determined to find out.