Health and safety defeats Marines who tackled Somali pirates - Telegraph Members of HMS Montrose's counter-piracy team board hijacked ships using a technique called "fast roping" in which they slide down ropes without harnesses and with their hands protected by asbestos gloves. The men planned to display the technique at the event and were astonished to be told they would have to undertake training with an industrial rope-access firm. They were also not allowed to simulate shooting pirates, who would instead have to give themselves up as part of a re-enactment of last year's successful Ocean Shield operation. The Marines were sent to a council facility in Edinburgh before health and safety officials at the local authority and the Historic Scotland agency approved the display. They were shown how to abseil to the standards expected in an industrial environment and have not been allowed to "fast rope" in the show, which is performed every evening in August. A senior military source said: "Historic Scotland thought everything looked far too dangerous and the Marines were told to tone everything down. That included abseiling down the walls of the castle and the re-enactment of the fast roping on to the 'captured' ship. "The Marines were also not permitted to shoot the pirates. Instead all the bad guys surrender. It is all a bit sad really." RELATED ARTICLES Am I man enough for the Marines? 12 May 2010 Telemark trek will test modern Marines 05 Mar 2010 Donald Bisset, a rope access expert at Web Rigging in Edinburgh, added: "They are trained in fast-roping, that is how they get on to the decks of ships that have been taken over by pirates. "I don't think the council was very happy with that from a health and safety point of view so they were told they had to abseil. Someone at the council put them in touch with us. "We just set up the ropes for them and were on hand to make sure they were doing it safely." One member of the audience was not impressed. "I thought the re-enactment of taking over the pirate ship looked like something you would expect to see in a children's pantomime," said Ross McNeill, from Glasgow, who took his father, Bill. "I certainly don't think it would put off real-life pirates, it would just encourage them. "My dad felt it had all been a bit emasculated by health and safety concerns. I remember going when I was younger and there were motorbike riders on see saws and a stunt where they took a gun apart, hoisted it over a wall and then reassembled it and fired it. That is the sort of thing you remember." Alan Smith, a spokesman for the tattoo, denied that health and safety concerns had adversely affected the counter-piracy boarding unit's display, adding: "It is a matter of opinion whether there is a stunt or not. There are health and safety concerns with everything we do but nothing so far that has stopped us in our tracks." Lesley Brown, of Historic Scotland, which is responsible for Edinburgh Castle, said all the procedures in the show had to be checked against health and safety standards and "risk assessed for impact to the castle".