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1 May, 2009 07:59

Flying logs defeat armed pirates

The crew and passengers of a cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden found a novel way to fight Somali pirates off the coast of Africa. The vessel, manned mainly by Russian sailors, repelled the attack with planks and logs.

The 31-strong crew of the Boularibank, a British cargo vessel, included 23 Russians. They, along with 11 passengers, refused to surrender when attacked by two pirate boats, reports the Itar-Tass news agency.

It’s reported that the pirates, on approaching the vessel, opened fire with submachine-guns and a grenade launcher. In turn, the crew and passengers fought back with whatever was to hand.

First, they sprayed the pirates with water from fire-hoses. Then they resorted to heavier objects like planks and logs, which they threw at their attackers.

"The pirates didn't dare to come close out of fear of being hit by heavy chunks of wood that were flying down from the deck," said Mikhail Voitenko, the editor-in-chief of the Internet edition of "Maritime Bulletin-Sovfrakht.”

Meanwhile, he added, fighting off pirates with makeshift weapons is a dangerous idea.

“If you, say, give enough time to pirates, if they are not afraid that there is some navy around, it’s only the question of time. In most cases it’s very dangerous and the chance to fight off pirates is very little,” Voytenko said.

Nevertheless, flying logs and smart maneuvering by the captain enabled the Boularibank to successfully escape the assault.

The ship is now heading for England.