Otago Daily Times

UK spe­cial forces re­take oil tanker

- Crime · Incidents · United Kingdom · Southampton, NY · Isle of Wight · Ben Wallace · Priti Patel · Government of the United Kingdom · Lagos · Nigeria · Lagos State

SOUTHAMP­TON: Bri­tish spe­cial forces stormed a Greek­op­er­ated oil tanker in the English chan­nel yes­ter­day to wrest con­trol of the ves­sel from seven stow­aways who had threat­ened the crew in a sus­pected hi­jack­ing.

Troops from navy spe­cial forces unit the Spe­cial Boat Ser­vice boarded Nave An­dromeda near the Isle of Wight.

De­fence Sec­re­tary Ben Wal­lace and Home Sec­re­tary Priti Pa­tel au­tho­rised the armed forces to board the ship ‘‘to safe­guard life and se­cure a ship that was sub­ject to sus­pected hi­jack­ing’’, the de­fence min­istry said.

‘‘Armed forces have gained con­trol of the ship and seven in­di­vid­u­als have been de­tained.

‘‘Ini­tial re­ports con­firm the crew are safe and well.’’

The min­istry de­clined to con­firm or deny the in­volve­ment of the SBS, in line with Bri­tish gov­ern­ment pol­icy of not com­ment­ing on spe­cial forces op­er­a­tions.

The SBS is one of Bri­tain’s most se­cre­tive spe­cial forces units.

Po­lice said the crew had been sub­ject to threats from the stow­aways and they were work­ing with coast­guard and bor­der forces to re­solve the sit­u­a­tion.

‘‘They had made ver­bal threats to­wards the crew. Noone has been re­ported in­jured,’’ a po­lice spokesman said.

It was not im­me­di­ately clear where the stow­aways were from or what their in­ten­tions were.

Refini­tiv ves­sel track­ing data showed the Liberian­flagged Nave An­dromeda had been ex­pected to ar­rive in Southamp­ton yes­ter­day morn­ing. The ves­sel had left from La­gos, Nige­ria.

In De­cem­ber 2018, Bri­tish forces stormed an Ital­ian cargo ship and re­gained con­trol af­ter stow­aways threat­ened crew as it sailed close to the south­east coast. — Reuters

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