A group of Nigerian stowaways who hijacked a UK-bound ship have been arrested after a 10-hour standoff.
The alleged Nigerian hijackers had threatened to kill the crew of an oil tanker – Nave Andromeda – bound for the UK.
However, they were eventually arrested by UK special forces after a 10-hour standoff in the English Channel.
The Nave Andromeda departed Nigeria on October 6 bound for Southampton. UK authorities believe the stowaways boarded in the port of Lagos through the vessel’s rudder trunk; an opening near the ship’s hull.
When they were found by the crew, the stowaways had no identity documents. It is believed they may have hidden on board the vessel for nearly 20 days before being discovered.
Reports monitored in the UK media state that troops from the Special Boat Service stormed the Nave Andromeda under cover of darkness. The troops embarked on a nine-minute raid and detained seven suspected Nigerian migrants. The Nigerians had they forced the giant vessel to drop anchor 8km off the Isle of Wight.
The development was confirmed by UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Home Secretary Priti Patel; both of whom praised the police and armed forces for bringing the situation under control.
Wallace said: “I commend the hard work of the Armed Forces and police to protect lives and secure the ship. In dark skies, and worsening weather, we should all be grateful for our brave personnel. People are safe tonight thanks to their efforts.”