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Now, there are hundreds of armed guards at sea off the coast of Somalia on any one day.At the same time the world’s governments saw the danger posed by the pirates and began to take their own measures.Amid the ferocious competition of international shipping, operators are again beginning to see security as a cost that can be cut. They have proved to be resilient and they are incredibly imaginative,” he warns.

How are you going to take a ship when you’ve got trained men on board? When there were no weapons, pirates were happy to assault these castles, but when they are fortified it’s a completely different situation.” Within months in 2010 armed guards went from being a risky prospect to the industry standard for the world’s big shipping firms plying these waters.Operators say the device can be hard to focus on a fast-moving skiff.• Lasers In 2011 the British arms firm BAE Systems developed an anti-pirate laser to dazzle approaching pirates.The former Special Boat Service officer was aboard a ship in the Gulf of Aden when news reached him that three ships had been hijacked in the same waters within 24 hours.On August 21, 2008 – or Black Thursday as it became known – gangs of heavily armed pirates in tiny skiffs were able to seize the merchant vessels Iran Deyanat, Irene and BBC Trinidad and hold their crews and cargos to ransom.

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