A major incident is today underway after a group of stowaways were discovered hidden aboard an oil tanker as it headed into Southampton, according to reports.
Police are currently dealing with the ‘security incident’, which reportedly involves a group of ‘at least’ seven stowaways, on a Libyan-registered oil tanker near to the Isle of Wight.
A mayday call was made at around 9am today. Crew members are reportedly sheltering in a safe room on the vessel, named the ‘Nave Andromeda’, with initial reports suggesting the incident was a hijacking.
However lawyers representing the vessel’s owners, which had come from Nigeria, today told the BBC the incident was ‘100 per cent not a hijacking’.
The crude oil tanker is currently to the south of Bembridge. Police have set up a five mile exclusion zone.
Home Secretary Priti Patel is being kept up-to-date on the incident, according to Sky News.
‘The search and rescue helicopters from Lee on Solent and Lydd are in attendance.’
The incident will likely lead to involvement from the Royal Navy and the Special Boat Service.
The Nave Andromeda was built in 2011 and weighs 42,338 tonnes. It was last known to be docked in Lagos, Nigeria on October 6.
It was scheduled to arrive at Southampton at 10.30am today.