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The Bantu Wind was a merchant ship captained by piaretes[1] led by Simon Katanga, flying under the Egyptian flag.[2]


In 1936, Katanga agreed to transport Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood — along with their cargo, the Ark of the Covenant, from the docks in Cairo, Egypt across the Mediterranean, in a deal set up by Sallah.[2]

As a freight vessel used for piracy, the Bantu Wind did not have many passenger amenities, though curiously it boasted a full wardrobe of women's clothing, including a white nightgown that Marion Ravenwood put on.[2]

The ship was overtaken by a German U-boat, the Wurrfler, and boarded by René Belloq and his Nazi companions, however, and despite Katanga's efforts to intercede, Ravenwood and the Ark were taken, and Jones left the ship to swim to the u-boat.[2]

Later that year, after Indy rescued Katanga from a Panama City jail, Indy chartered the ship for an expedition to the Aleutian Islands, where Indy hoped to find an ancient Chinese temple, predating the Eskimos. Emerelda Vasquez and a crew of pirates commandeered the Bantu Wind off the Aleutians, stole the Chinese treasure and demolished the temple, leaving Indy, Katanga and the ship's crew for dead. Katanga and Indy manage to escape, and eventually, Katanga's team was able to assume control of Emerelda's submarine. At the end of the naval battle that ensued, Vasquez was dead and Katanga was once again captain of the Bantu Wind.[3]

Behind the scenes[]

The ship that starred as the Bantu Wind in Raiders of the Lost Ark was the coal carrying vessel The Steyning; built in 1955. It would be later sail under the name Ballywalter in 1971 as one of John Kelly's Coal Boats, then the Sallywalter in 1979 under Oldham Bros Ltd, and finally as the Abeer Delta, which sailed under the Egyptian flag. It was sourced by production designer Norman Reynolds in Belfast, leading the vessel to sail to New Haven in order to be redressed for the film. The modern vessel was refitted with a false tall funnel to give it the look of a period steamer, sailing to La Rochelle in France on June 21, 1980 to begin filming. The Abeer Delta was finally scrapped in 1990.[4]

The Bantu Wind also appeared in LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures[5] and its sequel.[6] In the first game, Simon Katanga and the Messenger Pirate (known as "First Mate") are the only crew members of the ship shown,[5] and in the second, Katanga is the only crew member on the ship.[6]



Notes and references[]