Isle of Wight: Seven suspects detained after stowaways 'threaten' crew of oil tanker

  • london
  • October 25, 2020
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Seven suspects have been detained after security forces boarded an oil tanker off the coast of the Isle of Wight.

Concerns were raised with police over the welfare of the crew of the Nave Andromeda, shortly after 10am on Sunday.

Armed forces boarded the ship and detained seven individuals, said the Ministry of Defence.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Home Secretary Priti Patel authorised the armed forces personnel to board the ship in response to a request from Hampshire Police.

The Ministry of Defence said police investigations will continue and initial reports confirmed the 22 members of crew were safe and well.

“I commend the hard work of the armed forces and police to protect lives and secure the ship,” said Mr Wallace.

Oil tanker Nave Andromeda is seen off the coast of the Isle of Wight (ISLE OF WIGHT RADIO VIA REUTERS)

“In dark skies, and worsening weather, we should all be grateful for our brave personnel. People are safe tonight thanks to their efforts.”

Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, said the boarding of the tanker Nave Andromeda by British armed forces was a “good outcome”.

“We have been watching this all day,” he told BBC News.

“Seven stowaways on board taking over a ship or causing the ship not to be in full command would have triggered a multi-agency alarm and then well-rehearsed classified protocols were then put into action.

“Initially it didn’t look like this was terrorist-related nor involving WMD but the erratic behaviour was concerning.

“The safety of the crew was important as is indeed any unauthorised movement towards the coast.

“I am pleased to see that swift action has been taken. This is a good outcome.”

A file picture of the Nave Andromeda on the Noordzeekanaal in the Netherlands (AP)

Ms Patel said: “Tonight we are thankful for the quick and decisive action of our police and armed forces who were able to bring this situation under control, guaranteeing the safety of all those on board.”

A Hampshire Constabulary spokesman said concerns were raised about the welfare of the crew at 10.04am on Sunday.

“It was reported that a number of stowaways were on board, and they had made threats towards the crew,” said the spokesman.

“Following a multi-agency response by police, with support from the military and other emergency service partners, seven people were detained by police.

“All 22 crew members are safe and well. Police are investigating this incident and we have a number of enquiries to carry out to establish the full circumstances.”

The Liberian registered oil tanker is said to have given out a mayday call at 9am.

The Nave Andromeda had sailed from Lagos, Nigeria, on October 5, according to maritime tracking websites.

It is understood that the 228-metre tanker had been expected to dock in Southampton at 10.30am on Sunday.