US Marines who took the Magellan Star from the pirates who boarded it the previous day are being roundly and properly congratulated for their professionalism and restraint but without the text-book citadel defence mounted by the master and crew of the vessel itself the ship would have become just another Hobyo Hilton.
A citadel is a system of threat identification, deterrence and defence. The term is often mistakenly applied to the saferooms into which officers and crew lock themselves as a last resort to await rescue.
The pirates managed to overcome the outer layers of the ‘citadel’ and board the dead ship. Their problems started immediately. The system had been so successfully prepared that one of the pirates, irate, telephoned the ship owner. A man speaking broken English demanded fiercely: ‘Where is the crew here? Why is the engine not working?” (Hamburger Abentblat).
A well-written account by Captain Alex Martin, USMC, Force Recon Platoon Commander,”BLUE COLLAR 6″ 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, reveals that after securing the vessel it still took the marines three hours to break through to the citadel’s saferoom: