Members of Britain’s armed forces boarded a ship in the English Channel and gained control after a suspected hijacking and detained seven individuals, the Ministry of Defence said on Sunday in a tweet.
“In response to a police request, the Defence Secretary and Home Secretary authorised Armed Forces personnel to board a ship in the English Channel to safeguard life and secure a ship that was subject to suspected hijacking,” the ministry wrote on Twitter.
“Armed forces have gained control of the ship and seven individuals have been detained. Police investigations will now continue. Initial reports confirm the crew are safe and well,” the ministry tweeted.
Police confirmed earlier that there had been an incident on board an oil tanker in the English Channel off the Isle of Wight.
Stowaways were present on board the Nave Andromeda crude oil tanker which is registered in Liberia, Britain’s Press Association (PA) news agency reported.
Some reports described the incident as an attempted hijacking by stowaways.
The presence of stowaways on board was already known, according to law firm Tatham & Co, which represents the vessel’s owners, according to a BBC report.
Earlier on Sunday afternoon, an area several sea miles off Sandown, on the south-east coast of the Isle of Wight, and around the tanker was declared off limits. A helicopter was deployed on site, as was Britain’s coastguard.
The tanker had travelled in a zig-zag pattern for several hours off the Isle of Wight, records showed from the website MarineTraffic.com.
The 228-metre tanker, weighing more than 42,000 tons, docked in Nigeria in early October and was due to dock in Southampton.