A NEW weapon against Somali pirates is to be unveiled next month.

Halkaan ka akhri

EXPRESS

British firm BCB International, whose advisers include former Special Forces soldiers, has developed the £15,000 Buccaneer Launcher System which it claims can keep pirates at bay.

Dubbed the “Somali Stinger”, it is a small cannon which uses compressed air to  fire projectiles hundreds of yards across the sea.

And as a last resort ship masters can fire a “shell” packed with golf balls which will travel up to 600 yards at up to 450mph across the sea and bombard the pirate craft.

But the Buccaneer can also be used to rain a wide range of “ammunition” onto pirates, including  smoke grenades, paint pellets, nets, ropes to entangle their propellers and ice.

The system will be unveiled at next month’s Seawork Show in Southampton with pirate attacks off East Africa on the increase, though the Royal Navy says they are being disrupted or defeated more frequently by the multinational naval force in the danger zone.

But the pirates are currently holding more than 650 mariners and about 20 ships hostage.

The pirates’ barbarity was  revealed by the treatment of  British yachting couple Paul and Rachel Chandler, who seized  under the nose of the Royal Navy   in the Indian Ocean in 2009.

The couple  endured a harrowing 388-day ordeal  as hostages in Somalia before a ransom bought their freedom.

Last month the Daily Express revealed the lengths that cruise ships are resorting to including using Gurkhas as security guards and draping razor wire over the outside of  lower decks when in the danger zone in the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.

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