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Ribble Valley ex-Marine takes on the Somalian pirates
AN ‘adventure mad’ former Royal Marine has swapped life on the front line in Afghanistan for a new role — defending merchant vessels from pirates off Somalia.
James Twigg, 27, originally of Knowle Green, Ribble Valley, was unsure what career path to follow after leaving 40 Commando 18 months ago.
Through Marine contacts he got the chance of providing protection for merchant vessels in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden from a spate of hijackings by pirates.
The former Blackburn Cathedral chorister, who has a first class degree in electronic and electrical engineering, said: “It was with some trepidation that I started to venture into this world of private security, knowing that the support a soldier enjoys in the Royal Marines is often lacking in this profession.
“To be in the middle of an ocean in a very small team surrounded by pirates and cut off from any help was a situation that sounded somewhat precarious.
“However, deciding that it could not possibly be worse than what I faced on a daily basis in Afghanistan, I completed the necessary courses and signed myself up to a Private Maritime Security Company.”
James’ first transit was from Colombo in Sri Lanka to Suez in Egypt. After travelling on a small boat to board the merchant vessel, he was given his supplies — a rifle and ammunition, a trauma medical kit and a box of gadgets including night vision sights and personal radios.
His team soon got to work assessing the ship’s defences and improved them where they could with razor wire and by blocking off entrances.
James lives in Preston with his girlfriend, Rose.
His father, James Twigg senior, of Knowle Green, said: “As a parent bringing children up, you have to give them the opportunity to have their own mind.
“I wouldn’t have chosen for James to go to Afghanistan or to work for the security company.
“I am a chorister at Blackburn Cathedral and not that long ago we held the funeral for a Blackburn Royal Marine who was killed in Afghanistan. There for the grace of God go we.”
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