Speaking in Portsmouth, maritime risk expert Christopher Parry said the locals felt “quite worried” about the unfolding incident. He said the zig-zagging pattern the shift has suggested to him the captain and crew “are not in control”. Mr Parry told Sky News: “We’ve got a rogue ship sitting off the Isle of Wight.”
He added: “I think we’ve been saying over the last few months that it’s essential to have a safe and secure maritime border and hopefully this was picked up by our surveillance activities rather than actually being reported from the ship.
“But it does indicate that the Channel is an insecure area which the Government has to take control of.
“As I said earlier, we’re sitting off Britain’s premier naval port and it’s unacceptable.”
The Nave Andromeda is registered in Liberia and set sail from Nigeria on October 6.
It had been due to dock at Southampton this morning.
Sky News said “at least half a dozen stowaways” were found onboard.
Local media reported the group attempted to highjack the vessel.
It is not yet clear if they succeeded in gaining control of the tanker but tracking data suggests the crew are not in control.
Hampshire Police said: “We are aware and dealing with an ongoing incident on board a vessel which is situated south of the Isle of Wight”.
HM Coastguard said search and rescue helicopters were attending the incident but did not give details.
MP Bob Seely, who represents the Isle of Wight constituency closest to the vessel, told Sky News he expected the incident to be handled by marine counter-terrorism forces, but that it was too early to call it a hijacking.
The Tory lawmaker said the “ship may be now under the control of the stowaways”.
Speaking this afternoon, he said an emergency Cobra meeting had been called to discuss the incident and may have already taken place.
Cobra meetings are chaired by the Prime Minister during times of crisis, with top advisers discussing different courses of action.
Mr Seely said he believed the suspected highjacking would be “treated pretty quickly”.
This is a breaking news story…More to follow…