A young Polish captain is bribed by a Chinese ship owner to scuttle his first command, a rusting cargo ship in an insurance scam. When his mutinous crew abandon ship, the captain is left alone on board, helpless, anchored in a bay. That night while waiting anxiously on deck, he finds a naked body floating in the sea below, tangled up in the ship's rope ladder. Pulling the ladder, the captain discovers a Chinese woman in distress. She climbs on board, saying only "Hide me". Dawn comes a few hours later and so does a search party, looking for a murderer.