Maritime, Marsec & Pirates
A TEAM of hero Brits battled back deadly pirates four times in 24 hours armed only with Molotov cocktails and flare guns! The three-man ex-military security team were hired to protect cargo ship S. Venus in the pirate infested waters of the Gulf of Aden off the Africa coast.
On four separate occasions between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day Somali pirates – armed with AK-47s and rocket propelled grenades (RPG) – tried to hijack the boat by force.
Alex Little, 43, said: “We knew if we engaged them and they won we would be killed. It was a fight for our lives but we decided we were going to save this boat – it was emotional.”
The men, who work for APMSS security, were protecting the 190-metre long cargo ship on its two day voyage ferrying barley from Aden to Oman.
Denied guns by law, the men were forced to used improvised weapons – including mini grenades made out of light bulbs and paint thinner. Former Royal Marine Kevin Brewin, 52, lead the team of Alex and Ian Knight, 38, on their mission to defend the vulnerable vessel. He said: “We made the decision to fight and that is what we did. I suppose looking back it was pretty hairy but at the time you just get stuck in and do your job. “Ian had made some Molotov cocktails out of light bulbs by taking out the element, filling it with paint thinner and plugging the top with toilet paper.”
Despite the vicious onslaught the men hatched an audacious defence – pouring paint thinner straight into a pirate boat – before firing a flare gun into it. During the last attack the S. Venus captain had headed towards a nearby French frigate which had been alerted to their plight during the third attack. The Premier Maitre L’Her picked up and arrested eight pirates who were handed over to Puntland, a state in north eastern Somalia.
The trio are now safely back in the UK after their dramatic ordeal.
Their boss Nick Davis and owner of APMSS said: “It was unbelievably brave – to be attacked four times is unprecedented. “They really are heroes. This team performed above and beyond the call of duty.”
By David Willetts
From the Sun Newspaper