‘UNACCEPTABLE!’ Ex-rear admiral furious at oil tanker emergency – ‘Channel is insecure!’

‘UNACCEPTABLE!’ Ex-rear admiral furious at oil tanker emergency – ‘Channel is insecure!’

Speaking in Portsmouth, maritime risk expert Christopher Parry said the locals felt “quite worried” about the unfolding incident. He said the zig-zagging pattern the Nave Andromeda has taken today suggested that the captain and crew “are not in control”. Mr Parry told Sky News: “We’ve got a rogue ship sitting off the Isle of Wight.”

He added: “I think we’ve been saying over the last few months that it’s essential to have a safe and secure maritime border and hopefully this was picked up by our surveillance activities rather than actually being reported from the ship.

“But it does indicate that the Channel is an insecure area which the Government has to take control of.

“As I said earlier, we’re sitting off Britain’s premier naval port and it’s unacceptable.”

The Nave Andromeda is registered in Liberia and set sail from Nigeria on October 6.

It had been due to dock at Southampton this morning.

Sky News said “at least half a dozen stowaways” were found onboard.

The editor of Lloyd’s List has said seven stowaways have been found. 

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HM Coastguard said search and rescue helicopters were attending the incident but did not give details.

MP Bob Seely, who represents the Isle of Wight constituency closest to the vessel, told Sky News he expected the incident to be handled by marine counter-terrorism forces, but that it was too early to call it a hijacking.

The Tory lawmaker said the “ship may be now under the control of the stowaways”.

Speaking this afternoon, he said an emergency Cobra meeting had been called to discuss the incident and may have already taken place. 

Cobra meetings are chaired by the Prime Minister during times of crisis, with top advisers discussing different courses of action. 

The aim of such meetings is to make fast, effective decisions during a crisis and coordinate the response of the Government. 

Mr Seely said he believed the suspected highjacking would be “treated pretty quickly”.

Two coastguard helicopters have been scrambled to the scene and were spotted circling the ship on Sunday afternoon, and an exclusion zone was set up in the area south of Sandown.

A coastguard spokeswoman said: “We are currently assisting Hampshire Constabulary with an incident on board a vessel situated off the Isle of Wight.

“The search and rescue helicopters from Lee on Solent and Lydd are in attendance.”

Published at Sun, 25 Oct 2020 16:20:00 +0000