Seven people have been arrested after being suspected of hijacking an oil tanker off the Isle of Wight.
The Ministry of Defense said on Twitter that according to “initial reports,” the crew was in good health and in good health.
About 16 SBS commandos boarded Naveh Andromeda Sunday evening and regained control, said Mark White, Sky News’ home affairs correspondent.
Armed forces took control of the ship and seven people were arrested.
Police investigations will continue now. Initial reports confirm that the crew is in good health. (2/2)
– Ministry of Defense 🇬🇧 (DefenseHQ) October 25, 2020
Two Royal Navy Merlin medium helicopters, along with two Royal Navy helicopters, the Wildcat participated.
A Royal Navy frigate, believed to be HMS Richmond, was on standby to assist. The security incident lasted about 10 hours.
“All the crew members on board were counted,” White added.
The operation began after Hampshire Police received reports that “a number of stealth travelers” were on board and made “verbal threats to the crew.”
The Defense Ministry said Defense Minister Ben Wallace and Interior Minister Priti Patel had given the authorization in response to the “suspected kidnapping”.
Alistair Puncal, Sky News defense correspondent, said the operation was “extremely fast” and what is known in military terms as “blast flash”.
Marine risk expert Chris Barry told Sky News that it was all over in seven minutes, with the commandos on board.
Pinkal added that SBS is based in Poole and that the operation was in a “backyard.”
Tobias Ellwood, chair of the House of Commons defense committee, said the incident would have triggered a “multi-agency alert” leading to “well-trained secret protocols” in place.
Naval strategist and defense analyst Eric Grove said tankers like Nave Andromeda “don’t have a lot of people on board,” meaning that “small numbers of stealth travelers can have an extraordinary amount of leverage”.
He added, “We are witnessing this with pirate attacks in different parts of the world.”
The Naval and Coast Guard agency said the Nave Andromeda was “in ballast” and had no oil on board.
Ben Wallace commented, “I commend the hard work of the armed forces and police to protect lives and secure the ship.
“In the dark skies, the deteriorating weather, we should all be grateful to our brave staff. People are safe tonight thanks to their efforts.”
“We commend the swift action taken by UK staff to secure the vessel and most importantly the safety crew,” said Bob Sanguinetti, Chief Executive Officer of the British Shipping Chamber.
Hampshire Police said concerns about the safety of the crew were reported at 10.04 am on Sunday.
Tracking photos showed that the ship entered an irregular zigzag pattern at around 10.45 AM.
Police said the ship was about six miles off the coast of Bembridge and was heading towards Southampton.
Richard Meade of Lloyd’s List navigational news magazine said it was understood that stealth travelers have been on board since the ship left Nigeria, despite its docking stops in the Canary Islands and south of Saint-Nazaire, France.
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