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Four men detained as police secure cargo ship after ‘stowaways threaten crew’

Four men detained as police secure cargo ship after ‘stowaways threaten crew’

Four stowaways threatened the Grande Tema's crew, a spokesman for the boat's operator, Grimaldi Lines, said.

"Four men have been detained under the Immigration Act".

But earlier on Friday (Dec 21), they managed to free themselves and the 27 crew members have since locked themselves in on the bridge.

The situation was brought to an end following a late night operation by Margate and Ramsgate RNLI, Coastguard, police, Navy and the Naval special forces unit, the Special Boat Service.

"The vessel was boarded and secured shortly after 11pm on Friday, and was brought safely into dock at the Port of Tilbury".

The men had allegedly demanded the crew sail close to the British coast so they could jump off and swim ashore.

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The men had been put under surveillance in a cabin after being discovered four days prior, but escaped.

United Kingdom police said Saturday that the special operation to regain control of the ship is over, that the vessel has been secured and that four men were detained after the completion of the operation.

Spokesman Paul Kyprianou told reporters that the SBS descended on to the ship by helicopter before the men were arrested.

It is understood the stowaways, believed to be from Nigeria, wanted the Grande Tema to get closer to the Kent coast.

The ship had been making a routine 4,400-mile, 11-day trip from Lagos, Nigeria, when the four stowaways were found by crew members.