Attacks on ships can be “utterly terrifying” for the seafarers involved, Sailors’ Society CEO Sara Baade said, following an incident involving stowaways who reportedly became violent towards crew onboard an oil tanker, off the Isle of Wight this weekend.
The 22 crew on the Nave Andromeda withdrew to the citadel and radioed for help on Sunday morning, after seven stowaways who had illegally boarded in Lagos, Nigeria, became hostile towards them, reports say.
British armed forces managed to gain control of the vessel about 10 hours later, dropping onto the vessel by rope from four Royal Navy helicopters under cover of darkness. The seven individuals were detained.
It’s utterly terrifying to be faced with a gang of men threatening violence, especially when you’re miles out to sea. Unfortunately, seafarers are extremely vulnerable to attacks from pirates or desperate stowaways when they’re just trying to do their job – in fact, it’s such a huge problem we’ve had to specially train our support staff in trauma recovery,
…said Sailors’ Society’s CEO Sara Baade.
The BBC quoted the tanker’s operator, Navios Tanker Management, as paying tribute to “the master of the Nave Andromeda for his exemplary response and calmness and to all the crew for their fortitude in a difficult situation.”
The news comes at at time of a worrying upward trend of piracy attacks globally, with Gulf of Guinea accounting for an alarming majority of crew kidnappings. IMB piracy report for the first months of 2020 revealed a 40% increase in kidnappings in this period, with 80 crew taken in 14 separate attacks in the area.