The 228-metre Nave Andromeda, which has been at sea since leaving Nigeria earlier this month, is currently anchored to the East of the Island near Ventnor.
Island Echo is told that the crew have taken secure refuge following the discovery of a number of stowaways on board, who are attempting to hijack the tanker.
A 3-mile exclusion zone has been put in place around the vessel, which can be clearly seen from high points in Shanklin and Ventnor.
Coastguard Rescue 175 helicopter from Lee-on-Solent has been circling the area as the situation unfolds.
The incident is likely to lead to the involvement of the Armed Forces, including the Royal Navy and the Special Boat Service (SBS).
UPDATE @ 14:24 – Hampshire Constabulary have positioned an officer on observation duty at the top of Cowleaze, monitoring the vessel from afar.
A spokesperson for the force has said:
“We are aware and dealing with an ongoing incident on board a vessel which is situated south of the Isle of Wight”.
HM Coastguard have also issued a brief statement:
“We are currently assisting Hampshire Constabulary with an incident on board a vessel situated off the Isle of Wight.
“The search and rescue helicopters from Lee on Solent and Lydd are in attendance”.
The situation remains largely unchanged since the alarm was raised at around 10:30.
UPDATE @ 17:03 – As night falls, there is no indication on how this incident will conclude with the vessel still at sea and the stowaways still on board.
Island Echo can now report that there are believed to be 6 or 7 stowaways on the vessel. They became violent towards the crew, who have been left fearing for their lives.
The Captain has pleaded for assistance.
The Metropolitan Police have become involved in the operation with a helicopter circling overhead. The National Police Air Service Helicopter from Bournemouth is also now present in the local area.
Bembridge RNLI Lifeboat has launched and is standing by, as is Selsey RNLI Lifeboat.
It is unclear if the Special Boat Service are to be called in, although the presence of a Chinook helicopter travelling towards the SBS base in Dorset has raised questions about military involvement.
UPDATE @ 18:05 – The operation to bring the situation to a safe and peaceful conclusion continues this evening.
2 lifeboats and Police launches are holding off in the vicinity of Sandown Bay, with 2 helicopters circling overhead.
There has been no official update from Police or the Ministry of Defence, however, Lloyds List state it is believed the individuals boarded the Nave Andromeda through the rudder whilst in Nigeria.
UPDATE @ 18:50 – It is understood that the Special Boat Service has been requested to assist with bringing the incident to a conclusion.
2 Chinook helicopters are understood to have left the Royal Marines base in Dorset and are using the cover of darkness to take action.
Hampshire Constabulary has issued an updated statement:
“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.
“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.
“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”.
UPDATE @ 19:30 – It is thought that military action is being taken at this moment in time, with reports that a helicopter has landed on the vessel.
A Military Helicopter – flying without lights and with tracking switched off – has been heard flying in The Bay Area.