Seven Nigerian stowaways discovered in oil tanker by British soldiers, arrested

British soldiers have arrested seven Nigerian stowaways, aboard an oil tanker, Nave Andromeda, off England’s south coast.

The crew of the vessel were forced to take shelter around 1000GMT and called for help, when they were reportedly threatened by the Nigerians.

In response to a police request, the Defence Secretary and Home Secretary authorised Armed Forces personnel to board a ship in the English Channel… that was subject to suspected hijacking, the Ministry of Defence posted on Twitter.
Armed forces have gained control of the ship and seven individuals have been detained, the ministry said, adding that the crew were “safe and well”. 

The Nigerians have not been identified.

British media said the boat was stormed by the Special Boat Service with 16 personnel boarding the Liberian-registered tanker.

The Defence Ministry said police investigations “will now continue”.

The ship was around six miles off the Isle of Wight, police said.

Britain’s coastguard and border protection agencies were also called in to help defuse the incident.

A coastguard spokesman said two helicopters had been sent to support the police.

Law firm Tatham & Co., which represents the ship’s owners, told the BBC that the incident was “100 percent not a hijacking”.

Rather, the stowaways resisted being locked in a cabin after being discovered, the lawyers added.

A source close to the shipping company also told the BBC that crew had been aware of stowaways on board for some time, but that they had turned violent as the vessel approached Britain.

The crew then retreated to the ship’s secure citadel, where attackers are unable to enter, added the source.

The boat left Nigeria last week carrying 42,000 tonnes of crude oil and was due to dock in Southampton earlier Sunday.

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