Who needs guns and water cannon to repel pirates when you’ve got a posse of angry pensioners armed with deckchairs?

Details of the extraordinary scrap on the 1,064-berth MSC Melody (built 1982) off Africa in April 2009 have come to light after a retired UK couple settled a legal claim with MSC Cruises.

John and Barbara Jeffrey were with a group socialising on deck late at night when they first spotted a small boat following their liner, then looked on in horror as a pirate attached a rope to a lower deck and began shinning up it.