Four stowaways detained after UK forces retake Grimaldi vessel

Photo: Pitcher
Photo: Pitcher – Grande Tema in Northfleet Hope shortly after UK authorities secured the vessel on December 21, 2018

Four individuals have been detained by UK authorities after the British military regained control of an Italian cargo ship in the Thames Estuary on Friday, December 21.

The four individuals, who were believed to have boarded the Grimaldi Lines Con-Ro vessel Grande Tema in Nigeria, demanded that the ship’s crew take them to the English coast. The stowaways threatened the crew with iron bars to persuade them to give in to their demands.

The crew locked themselves up in the bridge upon realising there were intruders on board.

The Royal Navy’s elite Special Boat Service (SBS) stormed and regained control of Grande Tema on the evening of December 21 to bring an end to the 14-hour operation which began with the vessel’s entry into the waters of South England.

The SBS operators apprehended the stowaways and rescued the crew without injury. The stowaways have since appeared in court and have been handed over to the UK Border Force.

Grande Tema was transporting chemicals and other cargo from Lagos to Tilbury, Essex, at the time.

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