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British commandoes storm ship to save 27 crewmen from 4 stowaways

BRITISH Special Boat Service (SBS) commandoes stormed the Italian-flagged 71,543- gross-tonne ro-ro ship Grand Tema in the Thames Estuary to seize Nigerian four stowaways who had threatened the crew with iron bars to have them steer closer to the coast so they could swim ashore. The 27 crewmen locked themselves on the bridge of the 1,800-TEU Grande Tema, a 700-foot ship from Nigeria bound for Londons Tilbury Dock, reported Londons Daily Express. The ship which is based in Palermo was carrying cars, vans and heavy machinery and is understood to have plenty of hiding places. Operated by Naples-based Grimaldi Group, the shipped crewed by Italians and Filipinos, had been feeding the the stowaways after finding them last week and had kept them in a locked cabin. But things took a turn for the worse when the group broke out and suddently turned on those who had confined them. Commandoes landed on the ships deck at around 11pm before the ship was brought into Tilbury at 4.20am. Essex Police said it had detained four men under the Immigration Act and secured the vessel. No one was injured in the operation which lasted 25 minutes.

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