Greek mercenaries at sea - Dangerous missions and clashes with the Houthis and Somali pirates

Greek mercenaries

Proto Thema on Wednesday launched the documentary series "First Look"/«Πρώτη Ματιά», which focuses on all major current affairs topics.

The first episode of the "First Look" series was dedicated to the Greek mercenaries working on ships.

Clashes with pirates and the money they earn

Armed guards on ships first appeared about 15 years ago when Somali pirates began attacking vessels passing off the coast of their country.

When piracy became widespread, shipping companies started looking for mercenaries worldwide, primarily ex-special forces, to keep the attackers off their ships. The first mercenaries were paid up to 3,000 euros daily.

Along the way, the major powers targeted the Somali pirates and nearly wiped them out. But now, the Somalis are coming back again.

The foreign naval forces are heading for the Red Sea, where the Iran-backed Houthi rebels of Yemen are now shelling one ship after another.

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The Houthi rebels continue, the Somalis are returning, and the armed guards of the ships are wanted again. And wages are starting to rise again, too...

Dozens of Greeks do exactly this job. They board ships in the middle of the ocean, train the crew how to respond to an attack, and protect the ship until it passes through the dangerous waters.

Proto Thema met the Greek mercenaries on a ship they were guarding. They were taking part in one of their many trainings and showed the outlet how they respond to a boat with pirates approaching.

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Their official status is "armed ship guards," but they don't mind if you call them mercenaries.

"We do a job," they say, "and we get a salary. What is a hired man? What is a mercenary?"

To become a ship guard, it's not enough to be good with guns. You must know how to use them and, above all, know when to use them.

The life of ship guards is difficult. The conditions are good on some ships, but they are much worse on others. The situation is especially difficult on ships with floating platforms.

Old ship hulls remain tied up in the middle of the sea and function as floating hotels. There, the guards stay when one journey ends and until another begins.

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The other great difficulty is the months these people spend away from their families. Women, children, and parents with a phone in Greece are anxious every day to find out if their loved ones on the ships are okay.

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Once upon a time, being a guard, or mercenary if you prefer, was high-paying. Every day of travel was up to 3,000 euros. Over the years, wages have dropped dramatically.

Today, wages are rising again after the Houthi rebels created a new major threat.

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