An incident on board an oil tanker off the coast of Luccombe, Isle of Wight has attracted national news interest.
A five-nautical-mile restriction zone has been placed in the air around the vessel, Nave Andromeda, which has travelled from Nigeria, heading for Southampton.
Reports of stowaways
Police and HM Coastguard are dealing with an incident of reported stowaways on board the tanker that has been circling off the Island this afternoon. Lawyers for the vessel’s owners say it is “100% not a hijacking”.
The BBC say the vessel’s owner has known for sometime that there were seven stowaways were on board. They say verbal threats were made and the stowaways were unhappy about being locked away in a room.
The Ministry of Defence told the BBC earlier today that there is no military involvement in the operation. That seemed to change by the evening.
Two hefty sounding choppers leaving the scene heading west – leaving no trace.
All over in 9 minutes
BBC Defence Correspondent’s Jonathan Beale confirmed the conclusion of the operation.
All helicopters appear to have left. Blues lights are still surrounding the ship. Lights on board seem to have gone off again, can’t see the bridge anymore.
One helicopter has left the scene at high speed, the others remain.
Three helicopters surround the vessel and boats with flashing blue lights.
One helicopter is circling at high altitude. Spotlights are being shone onto the bridge of the vessel.
Carl Dinnen from ITV has tweeted:
Thanks to the Shipfinder and Planefinder Apps – built on the Isle of Wight – you can see the route of the Nave Andromeda, as well as the route taken by the Coastguard helicopter earlier this afternoon as it circled the tanker.
Whether it is connected or not is unknown at the moment, but the Royal Navy Bomb Disposal unit boarded the 6pm ferry from Portsmouth to the Island.
Follow the route
You can follow the movements of the Nave andromeda via the Shipfinder Website.
4.05pm – Extra info from BBC added
6.18pm – Tweet from ITV journalist added
6.29pm – Photo from Matthew Whittaker added
7.45pm+ – Updates of action added