7 stowaways, including Nigerians on board a Liberian registered oil tanker heading for England have been detained, after a suspected hijacking off the coast of Isle of Wight.
This was announced by the UK’s Ministry of Defence and several British News Media on Sunday evening.
In response to a police request, the Defence Secretary and Home Secretary authorised Armed Forces personnel to board a ship in the English Channel to safeguard life and secure a ship that was subject to suspected hijacking. (1/2)
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) October 25, 2020
The Ministry of Defence said: “In response to a police request, the Defence Secretary and Home Secretary authorised Armed Forces personnel to board a ship in the English Channel to safeguard life and secure a ship that was subject to suspected hijacking.
“Armed forces have gained control of the ship and seven individuals have been detained. Police investigations will now continue. Initial reports confirm the crew are safe and well.”
According to BBC, the ship, Nave Andromeda, was on its way to the Fawley oil refinery in Southampton from Lagos, Nigeria and left Nigeria on the 5th of October.
“According to a source close to the shipping company, the crew were aware of stowaways on board, but the stowaways became violent towards the crew while it was off the Isle of Wight.
“The crew retreated to the ship’s citadel, a secure area in which they can lock themselves, making it impossible for attackers to get in.
“This is standard procedure during a terrorist or pirate attack, but there is no suggestion the crew were doing more than protecting themselves from the stowaways. The crew contacted the coastguard, which then alerted police.
“The men, from Nigeria and Liberia, waved metal poles and threw faeces and urine after being found hiding on the Grande Tema,” BBC said.
The British Chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, Tobias Ellwood, said the stowaways taking over the ship, or forcing the ship not to be in command could have triggered a ” multi-agency alarm” which caused protocols to be put into action.