Seven stowaways were captured by British Special Boat Service members after allegedly attempting to hijack a tanker on Sunday, according to reports.
A ten-hour standoff on the Isle of Wight came to an end after the 16-man SBS team stormed the Nave Andromeda late Sunday, according to the BBC. The seven aggressors, believed to be Nigerian asylum-seekers who illegally boarded the ship in Lagos when the ship left there on October 5th, were apprehended and turned over to Hampshire Police, per the BBC. (RELATED: Facebook Admits To Censoring Anti-Government Posts During Protests In Nigeria)
The operating company for the Liberian-registered tanker, Navios Tanker Management, said the master of the boat became concerned about the “increasingly hostile behavior of the stowaways” in a statement released Monday. All 22 members were found safe and the ship is now docked in Southampton, where it was originally scheduled to reach the Fawley Oil Refinery, the BBC reports.
#HIJACK attempt: Tanker involved is the NAVE ANDROMEDA, Liberian-flag IMO 9580405, 75,000 DWT, owned in Greece. UK #Navy SBS Special Boat Service team has been activated, a UK Coast Guard helo is in the area. Scene is very near the UK’s biggest #naval base https://t.co/dxTZ4T4LFA pic.twitter.com/pbEdmYeJwO
— Chris Cavas (@CavasShips) October 25, 2020
The special forces operation, which reportedly took only nine minutes, involved the SBS team descending on ropes from four Royal Navy helicopters hovering above the vessel, BBC analyst Frank Gardner says. A three-mile exclusion zone was placed around the ship prior to the operation beginning, the BBC reports.