MILITARY STORM Isle of Wight oil tanker…

MILITARY STORM 

Isle of Wight oil tanker – SBS seize ship in 7 minutes after captain sent mayday as stowaways ‘threatened to kill crew’

THE Special Boat Service stormed an oil tanker in just seven minutes after a captain sent a desperate mayday when stowaways “threatened to kill the crew”.

In dramatic scenes last night, heavily-armed anti-terror troops seized the vessel off the Isle of Wight after the fugitives had allegedly threatened to kill the captain and staff.

The captain of the Nave Andromeda, which left Nigeria on October 6, is said to have made a desperate mayday call at 9am, saying: “I’m trying to keep them calm but please send help.” 

Police boats and helicopters helped provide distractions as at least 16 SBS commandos took part in the swoop on the 42,000-tonne Nave Andromeda — due to dock in Southampton.

Under the cover of darkness, they descended from blacked-out helicopters and approached the vessel in fast attack boats.

The troops were lowered on ropes from two Merlin choppers, while a pair of Wildcat helicopters circled above the tanker, providing close surveillance of the target.

How the dramatic raid unfolded:

  • Reports emerged of a oil tanker being ‘hijacked’ off the Isle of Wight yesterday afternoon
  • The captain had sent a mayday signal at 9am after fearing for the lives of himself and his crew
  • Seven stowaways reportedly smashed glass on board and threatened to use flares as weapons
  • The tanker zig-zagged in the English Channel before dropping anchor
  • SBS commandos swooped on the tanker and seized the stowaways

Commandos in boats also used grappling irons to climb aboard the 230-metre vessel while witnesses reported seeing blue flashing lights from police boats at the scene.

A source said: “The police lights were a distraction. This was an SBS operation from start to finish.

“Seizing ships is their bread and butter. They are happiest working in the dark.”null

A source on the Isle of Wight claimed that during a mayday call, the captain told an operator: “I’m trying to keep them calm but please send help.”

The source said: “The captain clearly stated he feared for their lives and needed urgent assistance. You could hear the fear in his voice.”

MAYDAY

The stowaways, believed to be Nigerian, were quickly detained and handed to Hampshire Police for questioning after the dramatic scenes unfolded. 

Today, a former Royal Navy officer warned it “could be terrorists next” and called for tougher border security measures. 

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Rear Admiral Dr Chris Parry warned that the next “hijacking” could involve terrorists.

Dr Parry said: “Next time it may not be just stowaways. It could be terrorists, it could be people smugglers or anything.

“We’ve got to approach this problem in a much more sophisticated way, we’ve got to up our intelligence.”

I’m trying to keep them calm but please send help.”Captain’s Mayday

Richard Meade, editor of shipping news journal Lloyd’s List, said it is understood the crew had been aware of the stowaways “for some time”.

He said he was told by sources close to the ship’s owners that crew members “tried to detain the stowaways in a cabin”.

Mr Meade said: “Seven stowaways, understood to have boarded the vessel in Lagos, Nigeria, became agitated towards the end of the voyage and wanted to leave the vessel. 

“Tension flared when crew tried to lock the stowaways in a cabin, having informed them that the ship would be following protocol and informing UK authorities.

“Officials have still not confirmed the point at which the stowaways were discovered on the voyage. However, it is understood that crew had been aware of the stowaways on board for some time.

It is understood that crew had been aware of the stowaways on board for some time.”Richard Meade, Editor Of Shipping News Journal Lloyd’s List

“The stowaways had no documentation when they were discovered by the crew.”

Last night the Ministry of Defence said initial reports confirmed that the crew — believed to number between 15 and 20 — were safe and well.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Home Secretary Priti Patel authorised armed forces personnel to board the ship in response to a police request after cops raised concerns for the welfare of the crew.

Mr Wallace said: “I commend the hard work of the armed forces and police to protect lives and secure the ship.

“In dark skies, and worsening weather, we should all be grateful for our brave personnel. People are safe tonight thanks to their efforts.”

Ms Patel tweeted: “Tonight we are thankful for the quick and decisive action of our police and armed forces who were able to bring this situation under control, guaranteeing the safety of all those on board.”

FEARS FOR CREW 

Border officials and cops boarded the tanker and spoke to the crew after the vessel docked in Southampton this morning.

The tanker had been due to dock in Southampton yesterday morning after a 19-day voyage from Africa. But a mayday was sent out at around 9am.

The captain of the Nave Andromeda feared for his and his crew’s lives after the stowaways are said to have smashed glass on board and grabbed flares as weapons.

They turned hostile when crew members tried to lock them in a cabin.

The tanker — operated by Greek firm Folegrandos — was seen zig-zagging before dropping anchor three miles of the Isle’s east coast and turning on its lights as darkness fell.

The stowaways were believed to have climbed aboard the Liberian-flagged tanker in Nigeria — 4,235 miles from the Isle of Wight, gaining access through an opening above the rudder.

On its journey, the tanker made stops in Las Palmas in the Canary Islands and then south of Saint-Nazaire, on the west coast of France.

It was last known to be docked in Lagos, Nigeria, on October 5, and was scheduled to arrive at Southampton at 10.30am on Sunday.

Lawyers representing the ship’s owners last night said the incident was “100 per cent not a hijacking”. 

Earlier in the day, police had said verbal threats had been made towards the crew but no one had been reported injured.

An exclusion zone, with a three-mile radius, was put in place around the vessel.

A Government spokesperson explained: “In response to a police request, the Defence Secretary and Home Secretary authorised Armed Forces personnel to board a ship in the English Channel to safeguard life and secure a ship that was subject to suspected hijacking.

MILITARY OPERATION 

“Armed forces have gained control of the ship and seven individuals have been detained.

 “Police investigations will now continue. Initial reports confirm crew safe and well.”

Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, said the boarding of the tanker Nave Andromeda by British armed forces was a “good outcome”. 

“We have been watching this all day,” he told BBC News. 

“Seven stowaways on board taking over a ship or causing the ship not to be in full command would have triggered a multi-agency alarm and then well-rehearsed classified protocols were then put into action. 

“Initially it didn’t look like this was terrorist-related nor involving WMD but the erratic behaviour was concerning. 

“The safety of the crew was important as is indeed any unauthorised movement towards the coast. 

“I am pleased to see that swift action has been taken. This is a good outcome.”

Bob Sanguinetti, chief executive of the UK Chamber of Shipping, also added: “We understand the vessel has been boarded by security forces and made safe. We commend the swift action taken by UK personnel to secure the vessel and most importantly the safety crew.”

In a statement released by Hampshire Police, they said: “We are now in a position to provide a further update to the maritime security incident which took place on board the Nave Andromeda off the coast of the Isle of Wight.

“At 10.04am (25 October) concerns were raised to police for the welfare of crew on board the vessel, which was situated approximately six miles off the coast of Bembridge.

“The vessel had been travelling in the direction of Southampton, having sailed from Lagos in Nigeria.

“It was reported that a number of stowaways were on board, and they had made threats towards the crew.

“Following a multi-agency response by police with support from the military and other emergency service partners, seven people were detained by police.

“All 22 crew members are safe and well.

“Police are investigating this incident and we have a number of enquiries to carry out to establish the full circumstances.” 

The Nave Andromeda is sailing under the flag of Liberia, and was built in 2011.

The Special Boat Service is located just a few miles away in Poole, Dorset.

In December 2018, SBS commandos took just five minutes to seize a ship hijacked by four migrants.

The African stowaways had threatened crew with iron bars on the Grande Tema in the English Channel.

But they meekly surrendered when black-clad SBS troops swooped down silently from a Merlin helicopter later that night.

A message went out to the elite fighters as they flew back after the “textbook” Operation Renegade mission declaring: “Pirates 0 – SBS 4.”

Full England Covid lockdown…

Full England Covid lockdown ‘inevitable’ to save Christmas from Tier 3 chaos

The SAGE panel of experts wants Boris Johnson to call for a national circuit break for England to avoid 800 daily deaths from Covid-19.

Government scientists now believe it is inevitable the whole country will end up in lockdown if we are to avoid 800 deaths a day from coronavirus.

The SAGE panel of experts is pushing Boris Johnson to U-turn again and call a national circuit break.

They are now convinced that without drastic action every region will eventually end up with at least Tier 3 restrictions anyway.

Sources say is not too late to “save Christmas” but a national lockdown longer than the originally suggested two-week circuit break is required.

The warnings come as Nottinghamshire Police said they had to break up street parties and issued dispersal orders “to ensure people left the city centre”.

Ministers continued to defend the use of local restrictions amid speculation they are considering a more restrictive Tier 4 category.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “We are battling a second wave, and we’re going to do everything we can to bring those numbers back down.”

Asked about the potential for introducing a Tier 4 higher level of restrictions, Mr Raab added: “We’re always ready for further measures.”

Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer, had publicly backed the PM’s local restrictions at a briefing 10 days ago but has reportedly told ministers he is changing his mind.

Sir Patrick Vallance, chief scientific advisor and head of Sage, is known to be in favour of stricter restrictions than “baseline” Tier 3.

Sir Patrick and Chief Medical Officer Prof Chris Whitty are furious their previous warnings of 50,000 new cases and 200 deaths a day were publicly rubbished.

In the last week daily deaths have averaged 230 and the Office for National Statistics estimated new daily infections of 52,000, while the UK recorded 274 more Covid deaths today.

Leaders in Birmingham demanded a national lockdown as the city braces itself to move into Tier 3 as early as next week.

Cllr Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “I am of the opinion England needs to follow France, Germany and Wales with a national circuit-breaker.

“We must not repeat the mistake of last March in not moving soon enough.”

New papers released today show that since September Sage has advised ministers that on the current trajectory its previous “reasonable worse case scenario” is set to be exceeded.

This had warned of daily direct Covid-19 deaths of more than 500 for at least 90 days, peaking at 800 daily in late February.

This put total deaths at 85,000 between July 2020 and March 2021.

As a minimum SAGE advisors are now pushing for the immediate closure of pubs and restaurants.

One source said: “It’s definitely too late to think that the two week circuit breaker on its own would sort this.

“Now almost certainly it would need to go on for longer.”

Originally a planned two-week circuit break was suggested for the current half term.

The UK’s latest ‘R’ reproduction value published yesterday dropped slightly to between 1.1 and 1.3. This was down from 1.2-1.4 the week before.

This is thought to be due to the impact of local restrictions but is not enough to get the UK outbreak under control.

It came after a leaked report warned that most hospital trusts in Greater Manchester could exceed critical care capacity by next week.

Prof Van Tam gives regular updates on the evolving evidence to ministers and reportedly warned the current tiers system was not enough to “get on top of the numbers”.

One proposal is a national shutdown before Christmas to allow it to be lifted so we can see loved ones over the festive period.

Find out how Covid-19 is affecting where you live by adding your postcode:

https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-local-restrictions?priority-taxon=774cee22-d896-44c1-a611-e3109cce8eae

Previous modelling from University College London found a fortnight circuit break during school holidays would set the Covid-19 outbreak back a month.

It would see the closure of schools, non-essential businesses, leisure and hospitality sectors, as well as online teaching in universities and working from home where possible.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called for a national circuit break.

Experts think a clear start and end date would minimise the damage to business and people’s mental health.

Health bosses in Liverpool today announced a “glimmer of optimism” as infection rates had fallen.

Experts think a clear start and end date would minimise the damage to business and people’s mental health.

Health bosses in Liverpool today announced a “glimmer of optimism” as infection rates had fallen.

In the seven days up to October 25, Liverpool had an infection rate of 475.5 cases per 100,000 residents, down from 585 for the previous week.

Director of public health Matt Ashton said: “These latest figures give us a glimmer of optimism.

“However, it’s important we’re realistic and know that to get on top of this virus will take time and effort.”

Murder suspect wanted…

Murder suspect wanted after bodies of mum, son and woman found arrested in village

Anthony Russell was arrested in a Staffordshire village on Friday morning after the bodies of Julia and David Williams were discovered in Bell Green, Coventry.

A murder suspect wanted in connection with three deaths has been arrested, West Midlands Police said.

Anthony Russell was arrested in a Staffordshire village on Friday morning.

The 38-year-old was wanted in connection with the deaths of Julie Williams, 58, and her son David Williams, 32, in Coventry.

Officers also linked the suspect with the death of a missing woman from Warwickshire after a body was found on Newbold Comyn near Leamington at around midday on Thursday.

Police say the exact circumstances around the death of the woman in Warwickshire are also still to be established.

In a statement this morning, police said: “A manhunt has been underway for 38-year-old Anthony Russell since the bodies of Julia Williams and her son David were found in separate flats in Coventry earlier this week.

“A woman’s body, found yesterday in woodland in Newbold Comyn near Leamington, has also been linked to the other two murders. She has now been formally identified as 31-year-old Nichola McGregor from Leamington.

“Officers on patrol discovered the suspect in a red Ford C-Max car, stolen in a car-jacking in Leamington on Wednesday afternoon, in a country lane in the village of Rolleston-on-Dove around 4am.

“He has been arrested on suspicion of murder and robbery in relation to the car. He will be questioned later today.”

On October 26, David Williams, 32, was found at a flat in Coventry at around 11.30pm.

He had last been seen six days before and had been reported missing on 24 October.

His mother, Julie Williams, 58, was found at her flat nearby at just before 11pm on Sunday, 25 October, after concerns were raised for her welfare. The causes of their deaths are yet to be established, and post-mortems are due to take place in due course.

Sainsbury’s staff ‘sent home traumatised’…

Sainsbury’s staff ‘sent home traumatised’ after boy, 15, stabbed to death outside

Sainsbury’s shoppers in Wandsworth, south west London were left horrified when a fight broke out in front of the supermarket yesterday afternoon which claimed the life of a 15-year-old

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/sainsburys-staff-sent-home-traumatised-22932732