'Stowaway' incident on oil tanker off coast of England

Yolanda Curtis
October 25, 2020

The Liberian-flagged Nave Andromeda left port in Lagos, Nigeria just over two weeks ago and was meant to arrive in Southampton on Sunday morning.

The police and coastguard were scrambled to deal with what they described as an "incident" on board a Nigerian oil tanker off the Isle of Wight on Sunday.

The coastguard has been assisting the police with the ongoing situation, and search-and-rescue helicopters from Lee-on-Solent and Lydd have been deployed to the area.

A UK Chamber of Shipping spokesman said: "We are aware of an incident onboard the Nave Andromeda off the Isle of Wight and are in contact with the relevant authorities".

Chris Parry, a retired Royal Navy rear admiral who is now a fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, told The Associated Press he suspects the stowaways grew violent as the tanker neared port, and the crew retreated to a secure area known as "the citadel" to retain control of the vessel.

Police have confirmed an incident on board a vessel off the Isle of Wight following reports of an attempted hijacking of an oil tanker.

The Nave Andromeda left Lagos, Nigeria, on October 6 and had been expected to dock in Southampton, England, at 10.30 a.m. Sunday, according to ship tracking website MarineTraffic.com. Sky News said seven stowaways had been found on board.

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".

Local MP Bob Seely has told Sky News he expects the incident will be handled by marine counter-terrorism forces and it is likely that a COBRA emergency meeting has been held or is due to be held. "We believe it is likely to be related to stowaways onboard but are awaiting more information". "Initial reports confirm the crew are safe and well".

"Armed forces have gained control of the ship and seven individuals have been detained", the ministry said.

The BBC has also reported that lawyers for the shipowners had said the incident was "100% not a hijacking".

"The vessel had been travelling in the direction of Southampton".

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. Richard Meade told the broadcaster that crew had discovered the migrants and tried to restrain them in a cabin, but the stowaways turned violent. This sparked concerns over the sailors' welfare, he said, adding that no injuries on board have been reported.

A five nautical mile restriction zone has been placed around the vessel.

Other reports by iNewsToday