Nave Andromeda stowaways: Two charged over Isle of Wight ship hijack and 10-hour oil tanker stand-off

Police have charged two men in connection with the alleged hijacking of a tanker nearby the Isle of Wight in October.

Police have charged two men in connection with the alleged hijacking of a tanker nearby the Isle of Wight in October.

Matthew John Okorie, 25, and Sunday Sylvester, 22, appeared in court on Saturday charged with an offence relating to conduct endangering ships, Hampshire Constabulary has said.

The pair were part of a group of seven Nigerian men who were arrested after being discovered on board the huge oil tanker.

The ship had been travelling from Lagos, Nigeria, and was close to reaching its destination of Southampton, Hants, on October 25 when its captain put out a mayday call following the discovery of the stowaways.

A marine traffic map shows the Nave Andromeda off the Isle of Wight coast. Credit: Google/Martinetraffic.com

The latest development is part of the ongoing investigation into the incident, when stowaways boarded the Nave Andromeda vessel in a suspected hijacking, but were stopped by a British Special Boat Service (SBS) raid backed by airborne snipers.

The raid was authorised by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Home Secretary Priti Patel after a tense 10-hour stand-off.

The 748ft (228m) Nave Andromeda had been heading towards Southampton, having set sail from Lagos in Nigeria.

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

The Nave Andromeda oil tanker off the coast of the Isle of Wight on Sunday night Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

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

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

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 January 25.