World News – GB – Army and police tackle hijacked tanker off Isle of Wight


Military and police forces were preparing on Sunday evening to deal with the attempted hijacking of a Liberian-registered tanker off the Isle of Wight after stowaways on board turned violent

Coast Guard helicopters hovered around the Greek-owned Nave Andromeda, as it continued on a zigzag course several kilometers beyond Sandown off the eastern end of the Isle of Wight

At one point, the ship is said to have dropped anchor in the English Channel Its uneven progress suggests the skipper may not be fully in control

The Department of Defense initially denied involvement, but calls were made for the Special Boat Service, based nearby in Poole, to be deployed It is understood that the government has requested military assistance

The 228-meter tanker was due to dock in Southampton on Sunday Aerial photographs showed it sitting high in the water; it is understood he was to pick up a cargo of gasoline from the nearby Fawley refinery

Police, Maritime Agency and Coast Guard staff dealt with the incident first A Hampshire Police spokesperson said: ‘We are aware and are dealing with an ongoing incident aboard a ship south of the Isle of Wight »

A Coast Guard spokeswoman said: ‘We are currently assisting the Hampshire Gendarmerie with an incident aboard a ship off the Isle of Wight Lee’s search and rescue helicopters on Solent and Lydd are present « 

A spokeswoman for Associated British Ports, which operates the port of Southampton, said she had had no contact with the vessel It is understood that the vessel was not refused entry to port

The ship left Lagos, Nigeria on October 6 Lloyd’s List, the shipping newspaper, said it believed seven stowaways boarded the ship in Nigeria Their presence was discovered, but they became violent when the ship’s crew tried to lock them in a cabin

The ship is said to have made two stopovers during her voyage, anchoring off the Canary Islands and off the French coast just south of Saint Nazaire in Brittany

The Nave Andromeda would be managed by Inchcape and owned by the Greek operator Navios Maritime Holdings

A spokesperson for Hampshire Police said: ‘At 10:04 am today [25 October] concerns were raised with the police for the welfare of the crew on board the Nave Andromeda – a ship about six miles off Bembridge, Isle of Wight

« The ship was traveling towards Southampton It was reported that a number of stowaways were on board and that they made verbal threats against the crew No one has been reported injured

« An exclusion zone, with a radius of three miles, is currently in place near the vessel Police are currently working closely with our partners, including the Maritime & Coastguard Agency and Border Force, to carry out this incident »

A spokesperson for the UK Chamber of Shipping said: ‘We are aware of an incident aboard the Vessel Andromeda off the Isle of Wight and are in contact with the relevant authorities We believe this is probably related to the stowaways on board but are awaiting more information « 

Isle of Wight Conservative MP Bob Seely said the incident would be treated as a ‘maritime counterterrorism’ incident and suggested a meeting of the government Cobra emergency committee could be held to discuss the answer This was then ruled out by official sources

Seely said he expected specialized units to be mobilized to handle the situation. He told Sky News: “Although he was told not to drop anchor, the skipper has dropped anchor and the ship may now be under the control of stowaways on the ship

« I suspect that due to the nature of this it will be treated as maritime anti-terrorism and the number of people in the UK who do so is very limited and the relevant units will no doubt be looking at the options we could do « 

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT maritime union, said: “We urge the UK government to do everything in its power to prevent any damage to the crew or anyone else on the Nef Andromeda

« This is a disturbing incident which must not escalate to further compromise crew welfare or maritime safety in what is an extremely busy area for merchant shipping

« We must call on all parties, including the Greek shipowner, to take action to resolve this incident quickly and safely »

Isle of Wight

News from around the world – UK – Army, police attack tanker that has been reportedly hijacked off Isle of Wight


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