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UK forces storm Greek oil tanker after stowaways turned hostile

All crew members of the Liberia-flagged and Greek-operated tanker “Nave Andromeda” – among them five Greeks – are safe and well, the Greek shipping ministry announced on Monday. British special forces stormed the oil tanker in the English channel on Sunday to wrestle control of the vessel from seven stowaways who had threatened the crew in a suspected hijacking. Seven people were arrested.

Troops from the Special Boat Service, a navy special forces unit whose headquarters in just a few miles away from where the vessel began showing signs of distress, boarded the Nave Andromeda near the Isle of Wight off southern England.

The tanker was raided by British special forces after seven stowaways on board the vessel threatened the crew, in a bid to be put ashore on UK territory.

The Greek Shipping Ministry contacted British authorities after the incident and was informed that the entire crew was well. No additional details have been released, however.

Citing sources, state-run news agency amna, notes that the tanker had departed from Nigeria loaded with approximately 42,000 tons of oil. It was sailing off the island of Wight in the Εnglish Channel when boarded and security forces have placed a five-nautical-mile exclusion zone around the vessel.

Andromeda was due to dock at Southampton on Monday morning.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock told SKY network that the crew was safe and that the police and special forces had done an exemplary job.

It was not immediately clear where the stowaways were from or what their intentions were.

Police said the crew had been subject to threats from the stowaways and that they were working with coastguard and border forces to resolve the situation.

“They had made verbal threats towards the crew. No one has been reported injured,” a police spokesman said.

According to VesselsValue, Nave Andromeda’s registered owner is Folegandros Shipping Corp, its beneficial owner is Shanghai-based Avic Leasing, while the vessel is managed by Greek shipping company Navios Tankers Management Inc. Greek media reported.

The shipping company thanked British Authorities n Monday.

“The UK authorities had been advised by the Master that stowaways had been found on board and that he was concerned for the safety of the crew due to the increasingly hostile behaviour of the stowaways,” Navios Tanker Management said in a statement.

“Happily no crew members were injured and all are safe and well,” it said. “Navios Tanker Management wish to thank all the UK Authorities involved in this operation for their timely and professional response,”

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