In a scene reminiscent of the Tom Hanks movie “Captain Phillips”, the Italian authorities were forced to board and release crew members who appear to have been hijacked.
Italian special forces have regained control of a Turkish ship that had been attacked by armed stowaways off the southern city of Naples, Italy’s defense minister told state television on Friday.
Defense Minister Guido Crosetto said the operation was still underway and that Italian forces were securing the safety of the 22 crew members aboard the “Galeta Seaways,” while rounding up the stowaways. He said there were 15 “illegal migrants” onboard, but did not provide details on how they managed to get there, nor their country of origin.
“Now all the crew must be liberated and the ship secured,” Crosetto said, adding operations were ongoing.
A Turkish transport ministry statement said the Galata Seaways roll-on-roll-off cargo vessel was sailing from the Turkish port of Yalova to Sete, France.
It said the crew noticed the presence of other people aboard in the late morning on Friday through security cameras, which showed them wandering around the boat possibly carrying sharp weapons.
The crew locked themselves in the engine room and alerted maritime authorities in Turkey, which in turn contacted Italy and France.