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UPDATE: British Special Forces End Ten-Hour Standoff on Hijacked Tanker

PortandTerminal.com, October 25, 2020

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – We now know that Special forces on Sunday night ended a ten-hour standoff in the Channel after a group of violent Nigerian “hijackers” threatened to kill the crew of an oil tanker bound for the UK.

The Telegraph is reporting at 21:00 local time that troops from Special Boat Service stormed the Nave Andromeda under cover of darkness and in a nine-minute raid detained seven suspected migrants after they forced the giant vessel to drop anchor five miles off the Isle of Wight.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed that the ship had been “subject to a 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. “

Earlier, Isle of Wight Radio had reported that seven suspects have been detained on board the Nave Andromeda.

Their detention followed what was obviously an extensive major operation off Sandown.

The incident has been ongoing for most of the day, after the crew and captain were threatened by several stowaways on board. When the crew attempted to lock the men inside a cabin, they smashed glass and reportedly made threats to kill. The captain then issued a desperate Mayday call to the mainland pleading for help as he feared losing control of the ship

They were forced to lock themselves away for their own safety as the incident unfolded. He reportedly told an operator that he feared for his life, adding: “I’m trying to keep them calm but please send help.”

A spokesperson for Hampshire Constabulary said earlier in the afternoon:

”At 10.04am today (25 October) concerns were raised to police for the welfare of crew on board the Nave Andromeda – a vessel situated approximately six miles off the coast of Bembridge, Isle of Wight.

“The vessel had been travelling in the direction of Southampton.

“It was reported that a number of stowaways were on board, and they had made verbal threats towards the crew. No one has been reported injured.

“An exclusion zone, with a three mile radius, is currently in place near the vessel.

“Police are currently working closely with our partners, including the Maritime & Coastguard Agency and Border Force, to bring this incident to a safe conclusion.”

All seven suspects have been detained, Isle of Wight Radio understands.

Isle of Wight Radio has been told that police counter terrorism officers and the Special Boat Service (SBS) have brought the incident to a conclusion.

The Liberian registered vessel measures 228 metres by 32 metres, and weighs more than 42,000 tons.

England’s SKY News is reported earlier today at 19:30 UK time (16:30 AST) that the police had requested military assistance to try to resolve a security incident involving stowaways aboard an oil tanker off the Isle of Wight.

Police helicopters were seen flying over the Nave Andromeda, sitting six miles off the Isle of Wight. Some media reported that the vessel, owned by Greece’s Navios Maritime Acquisition, had been denied entry to the Port of Southampton earlier.

Seven stowaways – thought to be from Nigeria – are onboard, Richard Meade, editor of shipping news journal Lloyd’s List, told Sky News.

Earlier this afternoon the Financial Times quoted John Thompson, co-founder of Ambrey, a maritime security firm that was providing advice to the vessel’s Greek owners on Sunday. Thompson says that the incident was “definitely not a hijacking”.

“It’s stowaways who have got a bit rowdy with the crew,” Mr Thompson told the FT, adding that his company had stood down its anti-hijacking team.

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