London, Feb 4 (ANI): Foreign shipping firms are hiring former SAS officers as "human bait" to safeguard their vessels from being hijacked by Somali pirates, the latest secret US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks have said.
British Special Forces veterans are in demand because owners believe that the Royal Navy will intervene to rescue them and their vessels in case the Somali pirates hijack them, The Telegraph reports.
The cables sent from American embassy in Tokyo dated June 2009, reported on loopholes in the security cover provided by Japan's Self-Defense Forces to ships carrying Japanese cargo through the waters off Somalia.
The fact that only two escort ships were available concerned some cargo firms so much that they hired "services offered by a British crisis consultant firm" to protect their vessels, the paper quoted the cables, as saying.
"These services dispatch former Special Air Service members of the British Army to cargo ships only when they cruise off Somalia," the documents added.
They further claimed that although on the ship their duties include monitoring pirates and "taking action in emergency situations", their presence serves another purpose-"Customers expect that since they would also become hostages if the ship were captured, the British Navy would rescue the ship." (ANI)