Seven Suspects Detained On Board Oil Tanker During Major Operation Off Isle Of Wight
Seven suspects have reportedly been detained on board an oil tanker off the coast of the Isle of Wight following a 'major operation' by the authorities.
Local reports have stated that authorities have now apprehended a group of people who were on board the Nave Andromeda and that all crew have been accounted for.
It's understood that the Royal Navy and the Special Boat Service (SBS) brought the situation to an end.
In a Tweet, the ex-Rear Admiral of the Royal Navy said: "Well done - Royal Navy and Special Boat Service #naveandromeda secured and 7 stowaways arrested."
Speaking to the County Press this evening (25 October), a witness said: "A helicopter was on the ship and has just taken off, it appears that spotlights are being shone onto the tanker."
A spokesperson for Hampshire Constabulary said earlier today that a number of stowaways had been found hiding on the ship and had made "verbal threats" towards crew members.
The statement read: "At 10.04am today (25 October) concerns were raised to police for the welfare of crew on board the Nave Andromeda - a vessel situated approximately six miles off the coast of Bembridge, Isle of Wight.
Well done - Royal Navy and Special Boat Service #naveandromeda secured and 7 stowaways arrested.- Chris Parry (@DrChrisParry) October 25, 2020
"The vessel had been travelling in the direction of Southampton.
"It was reported that a number of stowaways were on board, and they had made verbal threats towards the crew. No one has been reported injured.
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"An exclusion zone, with a three mile radius, is currently in place near the vessel.
"Police are currently working closely with our partners, including the Maritime & Coastguard Agency and Border Force, to bring this incident to a safe conclusion."
Speaking to the BBC, Richard Meade, managing editor of Lloyd's List, a source of maritime business intelligence, said it was vital that control was regained on board the ship.
He said: "This is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world and no one wants a three-mile exclusion zone around a security incident in a busy waterway."
Earlier today, it was reported that 'a number' of stowaways had been found, with the Andromeda supposed to dock at Southampton but ultimately refused entry. The report added that a mayday signal was sent out at around 9am.
It was understood that coastguard helicopter had been seen circling the Liberian-registered vessel and an exclusion zone had been set up.
In a later update, a local radio station said it had been told a total of seven Nigerian stowaways were on board the vessel, with armed units setting up base at the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth.
Members of the crew were said to be sheltering in 'certain points' on the ship.
Featured Image Credit: Isle of Wight Radio
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