A Maldon-based warship has been refurbished to take on Somali pirates. Defender, an ex-Omani Navy fast attack vessel which was featured in Ships Monthly last year, has been armed and modernised at Fullbridge after languishing on the Blackwater estuary for the past three years.
The ship has changed hands several times since being ‘gifted’ back to Lowestoft, where she was built in the mid-1970s for the Sultan of Oman. Her new owner and skipper is former Royal Navy Lieutenant Chris Enmarsh, who said: ‘Defender’s task will be to deter pirates intent on boarding ships that pass the East African coastline. She will be manned by handpicked ex-Royal Marine Commandos and run as a professional naval ship.’
Defender has had a 40mm cannon installed on her fore deck and a 20mm cannon on her aft deck, with two machine guns on each side.