Hijacking – Special Forces detain 7 stowaways with 22 crew safe after 10 hour ordeal at sea – 25.10.2020

7 stowaways believed to be Nigerian, who threatened the lives of 22 crew members on board the tanker NAVE ANDROMEDA are being questioned by authorities following last Sunday 25th October rescue mission off the coast of the Isle of Wight. The UK’s elite Special Boat Service was drafted in after the Home Secretary Pritti Patel gave the green light for military intervention, with around 16 commandos boarding the tanker at night.

The incident began on Sunday 25th October around 1000 hrs when the stowaways became violent to the tanker’s crew by making verbal threats. The Captain quickly raised a security alert and locked down the vessel amid fears of a hijacking.

Timeline of the incident as follows –

1004 – Authorities alerted to the developing situation on board the ship
1045 – Vessel goes to anchor and Captain requests immediate assistance
1100 – NAVE ANDROMEDA locked down and anchored.
1135 – Coastguard Rescue 175 airborne and heads towards the vessel
1140 – Exclusion zone put in place around the ship
1230 – Tug LOMAX heads out of Southampton towards to the East of the Isle of Wight

1300 – Stowaways continue violence and try to gain access to secured areas
1410 – Police position an officer on lookout duties
1418 – Police issue a brief statement confirming an ongoing incident
1432 – Coastguard Rescue helicopter from Lydd arrives on scene
1437 – HM Coastguard issue a statement confirming 2 Rescue helicopters from Solent and Lydd involved
1440 – National Police Air Service Helicopter from Bournemouth arrives off the coast
1605 – Metropolitan Police helicopter arrives overhead – NPAS Bournemouth returns for refuelling

1651 – Bembridge RNLI and Selsey RNLI lifeboats launched
1703 – NPAS Bournemouth returns to the scene
1707 – RAF Chinook helicopters land at the Special Boat Service’s HQ in Dorset

1720 – Met Police helicopter flies to Lee-on-Solent for refuelling
1741 – Police leave visual lookout point as darkness falls
1808 – Met Police helicopter returns overhead to take over from NPAS Bournemouth
1831 – Tanker NAVE ANDROMEDA’s lights are switched off
1910 – 2 Royal Navy Merlin helicopters and 2 Royal Navy Wildcat helicopters move in on the target
1930 – 7 people detained and 22 crew found safe and well – the mission took just 7-9 minutes

2120 – Bembridge Lifeboat stood down from the operation and returns to the offshore boathouse.

2240 – Pilot embarked the tanker and began her voyage to port
Monday 26th0200 – Tanker secured alongside at the Queen Elizabeth II terminal in Southampton in ballast condition.

Some terrifying 10 hours later and all 22 crew were rescued by the Armed Forces in a mission that one would expect in the Gulf region, not UK waters. 4 military helicopters, 2 Coastguard helicopters, 2 Police helicopters, HMS RICHMOND F 239, 2 All Weather Lifeboats and several other watercraft were all involved in the mission, which concluded without injury at just before 1930.

F 239 HMS RICHMOND off Grand Harbour, Malta back to July 2011.

Home Secretary PRITI PATEL tweeted –

Watermarked Photos are by Capt. Lawrence Dalli. Do not use these images without my permission. © All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos – www.maltashipphotos.com

Published – Tuesday 27th October ,2020