Stowaways armed with iron bars threaten Thames Estuary ship’s crew

Stowaways armed with iron bars threaten Thames Estuary ship’s crew

Stowaways on a cargo ship in the Thames Estuary have threatened the crew, who have locked themselves on the bridge of the vessel.

The ship’s operator has said the four stowaways wanted the ship to navigate close to the coast, and were armed with iron tubes they had found on board.

Essex Police said they were responding to a “complex incident” on board the vessel off the coast of Essex and Kent.

The force was called at around 9.15am on Friday relating to the safety of the crew on board the cargo ship.

The vessel is the Grande Tema, a 71,000-tonne ship which set off from Lagos, Nigeria, on December 10, and is currently sailing round in circles in the estuary.

Paul Kyprianou, a spokesman for Grimaldi Lines, the operator of the ship, told Sky News: “We found four stowaways on the vessel.

“The vessel was coming from Nigeria and was bound to Tilbury, and those four stowaways were in the cabin, and today they managed to escape from the cabin and they started threatening the crew, requesting the master of the vessel navigating very close to the coast.

“That request was probably because they wanted to jump and reach the British coast.

“The crew reacted and they locked themselves in the bridge of the vessel and so they are safe, we haven’t had any injuries.”

He added: “The master is in continuous contact with the UK authorities, particularly with the Essex police and the coastguard. We are waiting to see what is going to happen, we expect authorities to intervene.”

Mr Kyprianou continued: “They managed to get some, whatever they could find on the vessel, pieces of iron tubes and things like that that they were using in order to threaten.

“It’s a small group but obviously you can understand it would be scary.

“The problem is the four people free on the deck threatening members and requesting them to get closer. No injuries so far but obviously it’s a tense atmosphere.”

Essex Police said: “We have received no reports that anyone has been harmed and don’t believe they are at risk.

“We are not currently treating this as either a hostage, piracy or terror-related incident.

“We are working closely with our partners to resolve this incident as quick as possible.”

- Press Association

More on this topic

Pair arrested in UK on suspicion of Syria-related terrorism offencesPair arrested in UK on suspicion of Syria-related terrorism offences

Johnson denies knowledge of tax burden rising under ToriesJohnson denies knowledge of tax burden rising under Tories

1970s convictions of three men in UK overturned due to evidence of corrupt detective1970s convictions of three men in UK overturned due to evidence of corrupt detective

Hotel blaze not thought to be cladding-related, says fire serviceHotel blaze not thought to be cladding-related, says fire service

More in this Section

BFFs: Close friends help macaques surviveBFFs: Close friends help macaques survive

Food labels showing exercise needed to burn calories ‘could help tackle obesity’Food labels showing exercise needed to burn calories ‘could help tackle obesity’

Poll prediction shows Tory hit but Boris Johnson still on course for majorityPoll prediction shows Tory hit but Boris Johnson still on course for majority

Bird flu found on English chicken farmBird flu found on English chicken farm


Lifestyle

Wondering about wine for the big day? Leslie Williams has all the options, for every taste and budget.Something from the bar: The perfect drink selections this Christmas

Damon Smith faces the might of the First Order on the exhilarating Star Wars Rise Of The Resistance attraction at Walt Disney World in Orlando.Feeling the Force in Florida: Star Wars Rise Of The Resistance attraction opens at Walt Disney World

There’s nothing better than curling up with a good book over the Christmas holidays, says Kya deLongchamps.By the book: Our top home and interiors picks to curl up with over the festive season

More From The Irish Examiner