The British Special Boat Service (SBS) have seized back control of a stricken oil tanker of the coast off the Isle of White after it is believed seven Nigerian “stowaways” Had become “violent” and taken control of the vessel.
It was reported at around 10:30 am on Sunday morning crew members aboard the Nave Andromeda crude oil ship.
The SBS landed 16 heavily armed and trained personnel on board the stricken vessel, along with two Wildcat, and two Royal Navy Merlin helicopters, according to Sky News.
A Royal Navy frigate call HMS Richmond was on standby for the military operation, but was not required.
Tobias Ellwood, chair of the House of Commons’ Defense Committee, confirmed that Special Forces action was taken, and that no one was hurt. The stowaways are now in custody.
— eddie mitchell (@brightonsnapper) October 25, 2020
A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman 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.”
It is believed that 15 to 20 crew were on board and threats to kill were made to the Captain of the vessel and the crew.
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
Home Secretary Priti Patel said on Sunday evening, “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.”
Maritime Risk Expert Christopher Parry told Sky News, “This sort of thing is the sort of thing the SBS [are] trained to do.
“Ever since we had oil rigs in the North Sea this sort of operation has been the bread and butter to the Special Boat Service and specialist commandos.
“We want to send out a message – don’t mess with us.
“Don’t try and come into our maritime zone and expect to stowaway, or indeed come in for any other reason, you will be met with appropriate force if necessary.”