Isle of Wight tanker is wake-up call for Navy to protect Britain’s coasts | UK | News


Mark Almond, the Director at the Crisis Research Institute, said the Royal Navy’s prioritising of a show of strength internationally “overlooks the prime purpose of the navy” which is is “the protection of the British Isles themselves”. He said it was now time for the Royal Navy to “think through forestalling rather than policing ship-jacks after the event”. The historian and author said: “Until now piracy on the high seas had long been banished from off our shores and seemed to fester only off ill-governed spaces like Somalia, Nigeria or Ecuador.

“Yet the weekend’s events should be a wake-up call.”

On Sunday, the UK’s special forces stormed the oil tanker and detained seven stowaways after a suspected hijacking off the Isle of Wight.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed it had control and detained seven people.

The Liberian registered vessel was positioned in the English Channel south of the Isle of Wight.

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The seven stowaways who have been detained are believed to be from Nigeria.

Mr Almond added: “A handful of these young men decide that the shoals of cargo vessels plying their trade complacently up the Channel or around Europe’s coast could make easy pickings.

Consequences of such hijackings could lead to the “beaching a big ship” causing an “environmental disaster as fuel leaks”.

Or there could be a deliberate crashing of a vessel “into a harbour or other vessels in narrow shipping lanes”.

He said: “This could cause major disruption not to mention casualties.”

Mr Almond added: “Sunday’s events are a warning for governments on both sides of the Channel.”

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