PIRATES attacked and attempted to hijack a luxury yacht which was on its way to join a prestigious boat show.
The multi-million pound Sunseeker yacht was being transported to the Dubai International Boat Show by Portsmouth firm PSP when the pirates attacked, spraying bullets in the air.
The skipper was ordered to motor as fast as the engines allowed away from the trouble – and as they escaped they saw the boat that had been astern of them being boarded by the pirates.
Frank Dixie, managing director of PSP, who was not on board at the time, said: ‘It was a nail-biting experience to say the least but getting the boat to the show on time was our top priority and we weren’t going to let anything get in our way.’
The journey had not been plain sailing from the time they reached the Suez Canal.
Due to the unrest in Egypt, the waterway had been closed and the PSP boat was held up in a two-day traffic jam. After navigating the canal, the boat made its way to the dangerous, pirate-infested waters off the coast of Oman, and joined a military convoy in order to get through safely.
But it was as the boat broke away from the convoy that the pirates struck and, though there was security on board, the captain was told to sail full ahead away from the trouble.
He reported that the vessel behind them in the convoy had been boarded.
The yacht eventually arrived in Jebel Ali just a day before the boat show was due to begin, and was skippered at top speed to the show’s home at the Dubai International Marine Club in Mina Seyahi.
Mr Dixie added: ‘Everything was stacked against us and this was our first dealing with Sunseeker in Dubai so it was vital that we got their prize yacht there safely and on time.’
Arif Oomer, from Sunseeker Middle East, said: ‘We were over the moon when the yacht arrived at the show in time for the opening. PSP was faced with some incredibly difficult circumstances beyond its control and despite all this the team pulled through and did a fantastic job. If the boat had been stolen by the pirates it would have had huge implications for us and our customers.’