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25 Oct, 2020 22:26

UK ARMED FORCES seize control of oil tanker & detain 7 people after reported ‘hijacking attempt’ by stowaways

UK ARMED FORCES seize control of oil tanker & detain 7 people after reported ‘hijacking attempt’ by stowaways

A British Special Forces unit has boarded a Greek-operated oil tanker off the coast of the Isle of Wight in the English Channel, after reports of an attempted hijacking by a group of stowaways. Seven people have been detained.

Armed forces personnel “have gained control of the ship,” the UK Defense Ministry confirmed late on Sunday, adding that “seven individuals” were detained in the operation. The vessel’s crew are reported to be “safe and well,” according to Reuters.

Earlier, the British police and coastguard were deployed to deal with what was described only as an “incident” on board a Greek-operated Liberia-registered oil tanker that was heading to the British port of Southampton.

Also on rt.com ‘Hijacking by stowaways’: UK police & coastguard deal with ‘major incident’ onboard oil tanker off Isle of Wight

The vessel, which reportedly left the Nigerian port of Lagos earlier this month, did not reach its destination in time, and later send a distress signal while sailing past the Isle of Wight. The UK media reported that several stowaways – presumably from Nigeria – were discovered “sheltering at certain points on the ship.”

Police then confirmed that the stowaway passengers “made verbal threats towards the crew,” sparking concerns about the sailors’ welfare. Some reports suggested the stowaways tried to hijack the ship – something the lawyers for the vessel’s owners have denied.

Isle of Wight Radio reported that the police eventually requested military assistance to deal with the situation, even though the military initially said they were not involved in what they said was a police and coastguard operation.

“Special forces from Poole have been involved,” the outlet said, referring to the Special Boat Service – a naval Special Forces unit. However, there has been no official confirmation of any specific unit’s involvement thus far.

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