Pirates threatened to burn Scots skipper to death

A SCOTTISH sea captain seized by Nigerian pirates has told how he was threatened with being burnt to death during an ordeal that ended only when a £50,000 ransom was paid.

Pirates threatened to burn Scots skipper to death

A SCOTTISH sea captain seized by Nigerian pirates has told how he was threatened with being burnt to death during an ordeal that ended only when a £50,000 ransom was paid.

Joe Westland, 63, was skippering the Saint Patrick supply vessel when it was attacked by pirates three miles off the coast of Nigeria in May.

The pirates, armed with AK-47 assault rifles and travelling in two high-powered speedboats, also attacked two other vessels, including a tanker, the Lady Swathin.

Mr Westland, from Angus, said faking a heart attack may have saved his life, persuading his captors to accept a reduced payout for his release.

The kidnap has chilling similarities to the one portrayed in Captain Phillips, the film starring Tom Hanks – the true story of a ship’s master taken hostage off Somalia and eventually rescued by  American special forces.

Mr Westland said: “At around 1am I was awoken by banging, crashing and shouting. I was very scared.

“I locked my door and hid in the en suite toilet.

“Moments later, I heard loud crashing on my cabin door and then I saw sledgehammers coming through the toilet door.

“I wanted to avoid injury so I opened the door and was confronted by six pirates with masks, machine-guns and shotguns.”

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Source: express.co.uk

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