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Two charged in connection with suspected oil tanker hijacking off Isle of Wight

Five others remain on bail as investigation continues

Liam James
Sunday 27 December 2020 17:10 GMT
Seven detained after armed forces gain control of oil tanker off Isle of Wight in October

Two men have been charged in connection with the alleged hijacking of an oil tanker off the coast of the Isle of Wight in October.

Matthew John Okorie and Sunday Sylvester appeared in court on Saturday charged with an offence relating to conduct endangering ships, Hampshire Constabulary said.

The charges came as part of investigation into the 25 October incident, when stowaways on board the Nave Andromeda vessel carried out a suspected hijacking, but were stopped by a British Special Boat Service (SBS) raid backed by airborne snipers.

Seven Nigerian men were detained by the SBS, and they remain on police bail while investigations continue.

The raid was authorised by Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, and Priti Patel, the home secretary, after a tense 10-hour stand-off.

The 748ft crude oil tanker had been heading towards Southampton from the port of Nigerian capital Lagos.

The ship's operator, Navios Tanker Management, said the stowaways "illegally boarded" the Liberian-flagged tanker in Lagos.

Mr Okorie, 25, and Mr Sylvester, 22, will remain in custody until they are due to appear at Southampton Crown Court on 29 January.

The five other men arrested on suspicion of seizing or exercising control of a ship by use of threats or force remain on police bail until 25 January. 

The men are currently detained under Border Force powers, Hampshire Constabulary said.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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