“The ship’s bottom, covered with barnacles, rasped upon the poor devils like nails”
On a ship, the keel is the bottom of the ship. Normally, not much happened on the keel, but sometimes, sailors would get thrown at the bottom of the heel to be tortured and sometimes killed. This practice would have a sailor tied to the ship, or tied to a line of the ship, and get dragged along the heel. In other instances, the sailor would be tied down with weights attached to his legs to stop him from escaping and swimming away.
This practice of torture was known as keelhauling. Keelhauling was a punishment especially reserved for sailors and pirates, and according to The Infographics Show on YouTube, keelhauling was often used for the worst of sins and transgressions on ships, whether it was mutiny or simply getting too belligerent on a ship.
But keelhauling was used somewhat sparingly by pirates — instead, the British, French, and Dutch used it much more often as a form of punishment.
Presented by Romano Pisciotti