"A married couple have invented a simple way to stop pirates hijacking ships this is set to earn them £1million and the gratitude of sailors the world over.
Teresa Stevens dreamed up a plastic barrier to fit over ships’ rails and make it impossible for anyone to board from another vessel.
Together with her husband David she runs a company specialising in maritime security and the pair are celebrating after the crime-busting design put them on course to turn over £1million in their first year.
The design is a large plastic P shape which is fitted over the railings of ships and hangs over them.
It works by making it impossible for pirates to board boats by throwing ladders and grappling hooks because they can’t over the ledge it forms.
After an arduous development process the Stevens called in their local unit if marines Royal Marines to try and board a ship protected with Guardian Anti-Piracy barriers - after 2 hours they gave up and the design was declared a success.
It is has now been fitted on more than 100 ships and in May this year saved it’s first would-be victims when pirates attempted to storm a container ship of the coast of Nigeria.
Mrs Stevens said: 'The pirates came up to the ship and were harassing it for close to an hour I think, trying to board it but they couldn’t.
'In the end they got so frustrated that they shot the lifeboat to pieces but they couldn’t get any further than that, we learned later that they took another ship in the same location just two hours later - obviously that one didn’t have any protection.
'The chief security officer contacted us to say they were very happy because it saved the ship and that meant the crew members were safe.
'That is absolutely why we do it, it was great to get that validation because it makes you think all that effort developing and designing, those years of hard work and living on the poverty line was worth it.'
The units appear to made from plastic but are in fact a compound UV package which makes it denser and stronger than any plastic used in any marine environment to date.
Crucially it does not fall apart under fire and is fixed to the rails so it also screens the crew from incoming pirates enabling them to stay out of sight and get to safety.
They can also be removed in sections making them easy to move in and out when they ships enter ports and need to allow people off but still keep stoaways and thieves out.
They retail for £110 and most ships require between 65 and 100 units to cover all their exposed areas meaning that relative to the value of the ships they protect the barriers are hugely cost effective.
Mrs Stevens, a former chef, works alongside her husband David at their firm Marine and Auto Security Solutions in Lee-on-Solent, Hampshire.
She said that they realised after focusing their efforts on trying to remove pirates from ships that the real key was to make it impossible for them to get on board in the first place.
She added: 'We were working on anti-piracy and my husband came up with a way of remotely controlling a ship.
'But our customers wanted something to stop pirates getting on board in the first place, so we thought of things like ways to blast the pirates with chilli oil and other things.
‘It suddenly occurred to me to put a huge plastic P over the rail to prevent the ladders and grappling hooks gripping.’
The most common way pirates take control of ships is to sling ropes and roof ladders around the outdoor railings and then, often at night, climbing up.
But the Stevens’ device has a wide plastic top which means its hooks cannot grab on.
The success they have had so far means that they save the shipping industry millions and thwart an increasingly common problem that endangers the lives of seamen all over the world.
Mrs Stevens added: “We tested it with Royal Marines at a local maritime school and they couldn’t get on.
'We even tied a rope on but because of the shape of the barrier, the marines could not get past the overhang.
'They tried for two hours and had to give up and it was really put through its paces in the Gulf.
‘Now we have put it on probably 100 ships and are in talks with an oil rig company to supply them, as they’re based off the coast of Africa an the rig and their ships get attacked by pirates regularly.’
Not ones to rest on their laurels, the Stevens are now working on developing a range of different sizes and shapes to protect other marine installations at threat from piracy. " - Daily Mail