Italian troops foil hijacking attempt on Ro-Ro in Tyrrhenian Sea

Screen capture of CCTV footage showing Italian Navy troops storming the Ro-Ro vessel Galata Seaways in the Tyrrhenian Sea following reports of armed stowaways on board, June 9, 2023 (Photo: Turkish Maritime General Directorate)

Italy’s Ministry of Defence has confirmed that the country’s security forces successfully prevented an attempted hijacking of a commercial vessel in the central Tyrrhenian Sea on Friday, June 9.

The raid on the Turkish-flagged Ro-Ro ship Galata Seaways was executed following reports by the crew that they discovered 15 stowaways, some of whom were armed with knives.

The Italian Navy deployed an armed boarding team of marines on two helicopters to regain control of the ship while it was some 96 kilometres off the coast of Naples.

The marines fast-roped onto the ship and subsequently secured the bridge as well as the 22-strong Turkish crew and three passengers, who had locked themselves up in the engine room and various areas after the stowaways started threatening them.

The stowaways were apprehended and taken into custody nearly seven hours after the raid began. The ship was meanwhile escorted by Italian authorities to Naples, where it is being guarded by local police.

Italian news outlet ANSA said the stowaways included Syrian, Iraqi, and Iranian nationals. Reports stated that they boarded the ship shortly before it left the Turkish port of Topçular on Wednesday, June 7.

Galata Seaways was en route to Sete, France, when the crew discovered the stowaways on Friday.

Italy’s Guardia di Finanza financial police also assisted in the operation to regain control of the ship.

Baird Maritime

The best maritime site on the web. The sea's our scene!