Seven suspects were detained late on Sunday after a suspected hijacking involving stowaways on a Greek-owned tanker near the Isle of Wight off the English southern coast.
According to the BBC, UK special forces completed the operation in a swift nine minutes. All 22 crew members, who had been locked in the ship’s citadel, are now safe.
The Liberian-flagged tanker Andromeda, owned by the Greek shipping company Navios, was en route from Lagos in Nigeria to the Fawley oil refinery in Southampton Water.
It had not made any other stops along its route.
According to the BBC, the crew were aware of stowaways on board, but the stowaways became violent toward the crew while it was off the Isle of Wight.
UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, in tandem with Home Secretary Priti Patel gave the OK for the team from the “Special Boat Service,” a group much like the US Navy’s Seal Team 6, to storm the vessel.
A statement released by Navios Tanker Management said “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.”
“Happily no crew members were injured and all are safe and well. Navios Tanker Management wish to thank all the UK Authorities involved in this operation for their timely and professional response.”
With a history going back all the way to the Second World War, the Special Boat Service is now one of Great Britain’s maritime counter-terrorism units, seen as the equivalent to the American Navy’s Task Force Blue.