Otago Daily Times
UK special forces retake oil tanker
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