Posted on December 23, 2018 by Ilias Kiritsis
A group of migrant stowaways who threatened the crew of a containership headed to Essex, have been arrested by British authorities in the evening of December the 21st.
The Grande Tema, an Italian-flagged containership operated by Grimaldi Lines, was en route from Lagos, Nigeria to Tilbury, Essex, when the crew of the vessel located four stowaways onboard.
The crew managed to confine the four stowaways, a combination of Nigerian and Liberian nationals, in a cabin where they were fed and taken care of, in accordance to international maritime regulations.
However, as the ship began to approach Britain, the stowaways became restless, and after escaping their cabin, proceeded to grab iron tubes and other various objects from the ship, and used them to threaten the crew.
The migrants demanded that the ship would sail closer to the coast, so that they could jump off and swim to freedom, but the crew locked themselves in the bridge and refused to comply with their demands.
“The crew reacted, and they locked themselves on the bridge of the vessel, so they are safe. We haven’t had any injuries, no clashes between stowaways and crew members. The master is in continual contact with UK authorities, particularly with Essex Police and the coastguard. They managed to get whatever they could find on the vessel – pieces of iron tubes and things like that – and they were using them in order to threaten. It is a small group but obviously you can understand that it could be scary for the crew members.” said in a statement, Paul Kyprianou, a spokesman for Grimaldi Lines.
The incident was resolved when the Prime Minister gave the green light for special forces to raid the vessel, in order to capture the four stowaways and thus ensure the safety of the crew.
Special Boat Service (SBS) operatives from Sabre squadron fast-roped from helicopters onto the vessel that had been sailing through the Thames estuary.
Following a successful operation, the vessel was taken to Tilbury, and the four stowaways were remanded to the Home Office for processing under the Immigration Act.
Image Courtesy of Marine Traffic