Police have confirmed that 7 men at the centre of yesterday’s Nave Andromeda incident have been arrested on suspicion of hijacking a ship – an offence which carries a maximum term of life imprisonment.
Detectives are continuing to investigate the major rescue operation off the coast of the Isle of Wight, with all 7 men being questioned at Police stations across Hampshire.
The group have been arrested on suspicion of seizing or exercising control of a ship by use of threats or force under Section 9 (1) and (3) of Aviation and Maritime and Security Act 1990. The offence is classed as hijacking and a person guilty of the offence of hijacking a ship is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for life.
All 22 crew members are safe and well and the vessel is now alongside in the port of Southampton. Investigators are speaking to the crew members to establish the exact circumstances of what happened.
Hampshire Constabulary have thanked the partner agencies involved including the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, the military, the Home Office and Border Force, which have been helping the investigation and assisted in bringing this incident to a safe conclusion.
It was just before 19:30 last night that Special Boat Service commandos descended onto the vessel off Ventnor, detaining the 7 stowaways and securing the safety of both the crew and ship.
Operators of the ship at the centre of yesterday’s incident, Navios Tanker Management, have today said:
“We are pleased to report that the 7 stowaways who illegally boarded the Liberian Flag tanker in Lagos, Nigeria, have been detained by the UK Authorities after a multi-agency response, including police, military and emergency forces.
“The UK Authorities had been advised by the Master that stowaways had been found on board and that he was concerned for the safety of the crew due to the increasingly hostile behaviour of the stowaways.
“Happily no crew members were injured and all are safe and well.
“Navios Tanker Management wish to thank all the UK Authorities involved in this operation for their timely and professional response.
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“Navios would also like to pay tribute to the Master of the Nave Andromeda for his exemplary response and calmness and to all the crew for their fortitude in a difficult situation.”