Elite Royal Navy forces stormed an oil tanker in the English Channel on Sunday in what was seen as a potential hijacking attempt, the Defense Ministry said. Photo courtesy of the Royal Navy
October 25 (UPI) – Britain’s elite naval forces “unhooked” helicopters to storm an oil tanker in the English Channel on Sunday and arrested seven stowaways who the crew said were planning to hijack the ship.
The operation lasted 9 minutes, authorities said.
Crew members aboard the Liberia-registered Nave Andromeda contacted Hampshire Police on Sunday morning to report that people hiding on the ship made “verbal threats” after being detained on board .
The British Defense Minister’s office confirmed on Sunday evening that members of the Special Boat Service had boarded the ship and taken people into custody.
“In response to a police request, the Defense Secretary and Home Secretary allowed armed forces personnel to board a ship in the English Channel to save lives and secure a suspected ship. hijacking, “the department said in a statement, adding that police investigations would continue.
“The first reports confirm that the crew is safe and sound,” the department said.
The stowaways were said to have embarked in Nigeria when the boat was moored in Lagos, Richard Meade, editor of the Lloyd’s List shipping website, Recount The independent.
“[The stowaways] were discovered by the crew and as they tried to hold them in a cabin they turned violent, âMeade said.
The 748 ft. The oil tanker Nave Andromeda, owned by the Greek shipping company Navios, had left Lagos in early October with a crew of 22 and was due to dock in Southampton on Sunday to collect a cargo of gasoline. But the ship’s course began to change erratically as it passed the Isle of Wight, and law enforcement ashore has been contacted.
From a nearby base in Poole, Dorset, members of the British Navy’s elite boat service used two Navy Merlin helicopters and two Navy Wildcats to take control of the tanker, sliding ropes of helicopters across the ship, the Guardian reported. Navy divers have also been deployed to check if the ship has been mined, officials Recount the BBC, but it was not.
Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons Defense Committee, hailed the arrest of the tanker as a “good result”.
“Seven stowaways on board taking control of a ship or causing the ship not to be fully in command would have set off a multi-agency alarm, then well-prepared classified protocols were then implemented,” said Ellwood.