Battle ship grey, a big gun at each end, and proudly flying the Union Jack, was this a belated fight back from the Brits on behalf of Nelson? Not really but you can understand why the port authorities were a bit jittery at this unexpected guest.
Defender wasn’t here by choice, chatting to one of the crew I found out that a broken gasket had forced the 40 metre long ship to limp in for vital repairs. On route from Falmouth to Senegal the privately owned security vessel had a fair few technical problems. The Guardia Civil patrol boat was parked up behind it next door to the ferry terminal but port security were quite concerned at the canon like guns. The boat was built for the Sultan of Oman as a patrol ship in 1967 and then “gifted” back to it’s birth port of Lowestoft to a former Royal Navy Lieutenant Chris Enmarsh. Loaded up with a crew of former Royal Navy marines, Defender has been patrolling the east coast of Africa protecting oil platforms.
It all created a bit of a flap and Spanish Navy officials were soon in town to find out what the story was. They say that the 40 mm gun on the front and its 20 mm friend at the rear are decommissioned . Even though that brought a big sigh of relief a Tornado (above) from the Spanish Navy popped over from its Las Palmas base to escort Defender through last night to the more secure setting of Santa Cruz port due to “administrative irregularities” and presumably awaiting full repairs. If replacement parts don’t arrive soon I think I might have some old Airfix spares and some Humbrol mini paint cans.