Big GRIMALDI’s ro-ro seized by stowaways in English Channel off Margate Update

Dec 22 Update: The ship was stormed by British Special Forces team, and freed, late Dec 21, and resumed sailing at around 2330 UTC, as of 0330 UTC Dec 22 the ship was approaching Tilbury. Police said no one was injured in the operation, stowaways were detained. Media and authorities continue identifying as “stowaways” persons who seized the ship and have been threatening crew and shipping in the area.
“…they started threatening the crew, requesting the master of the vessel to navigate very close to the coast, probably because they wanted to jump and reach the British coast.” said Grimaldi spokesman.
Understood they didn’t want to be holders of stowaway status when reaching UK, they wanted to be migrants, that’s why they demanded the ship to close UK shores so that they could leave the ship and reach the shore by themselves.

Dec 21: Crew of ro-ro cargo ship GRANDE TEMA found four Nigerian stowaways on Dec 17 while the ship was under way, en route from Lagos Nigeria to Tilbury UK, and according to stowaway safe management guidelines, locked them in cabin. In the morning Dec 21, when the ship was off Margate, UK, stowaways broke the door and raged around, armed with steel bars. The crew, according to latest British reports, locked themselves on a bridge, while British authorities can’t yet take the ship under control:
“We have received no reports that anyone has been harmed and don’t believe they are at risk. We are not 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. We are not in a position to provide any details about who is on board at this stage.”
Yes sure, it is not hostage situation, it’s just cultural misunderstanding, sort of. As of 2000 UTC, the ship was still circling around off Margate, waiting for UK authorities reaction and some decisive measures. Situation is absolutely absurd and shameful. Some thugs armed with bars can seize cargo ship in British (EU) waters, and get away with it? Just because they’re so-called “migrants”, they can’t be judged by laws and basic common sense?
Ro-ro cargo ship GRANDE TEMA, IMO 9672090, GT 71543, built 2014, flag Italy, manager GRIMALDI Group.



My name is Mikhail Voytenko, I’m Russian, professional merchant marine navigator, by education and former experience. I own and run Maritime Bulletin website for more than 10 years. I've been involved in solving a number of piracy hijack cases, including the hijack of ro-ro FAINA, loaded with tanks. It was me who made public, and unravel, freighter ARCTIC SEA mystery. I've been also closely involved in a number of maritime disaster, one of them being MSC FLAMINIA major fire.