A spokesperson for Southend Regional Council has confirmed that ‘negotiations are underway’ after a group of 30 armed Somali Pirates landed at the end of Southend Pier and started to occupy it by force.
Shortly before 8pm on Saturday evening, a number of cannon shots were heard out at sea, and a message from the RNLI lifeboat station confirmed that the pier head had been overrun by the heavily-armed individuals. Their reasons for straying so far from the coast of Africa were initially unclear.
At 8.45pm, A radio message was transmitted to the shore, and a number of ride operators at Adventure Island Theme Park confirmed that they had been able to listen to the broadcast on their handheld radios.
It said: ‘Under the leadership of Captain Captain, your pier is now officially an occupied territory that is under our full control. We have travelled from Africa to remove your valuable timber, and the dismantling process will begin right away.’
‘As long as we do not encounter any resistance from your police or your army, this will be an occupation that is free of bloodshed and tragedy. We intend to leave enough timber to ensure that you continue to have the longest pier in the world.’
Edward Spoon is a terrorism expert from the University of Southchurch, and he specialises in the operations of Somali Pirates. He told Southend News Network that each plank of the original strutcture could be worth ‘hundreds of pounds.’
He added: ‘Southend Pier was originally made out of Javanese Pine Birch Leaf timber, and this can be worth up to £500 per plank – this makes it incredibly attractive to thieves and mercenaries. We have been telling the council for months that it needs to be removed and replaced with something cheaper from B&Q, but nobody listened to us.’