Two suspected pirates appeared in court on Saturday charged with endangering a ship after the Nave Andromeda ‘hijacking’ incident in the English Channel.
Matthew John Okorie, 25, and Sunday Sylvester, 22, 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.
Following a tense 10-hour stand-off, commandos from the Special Boat Service (SBS) dramatically stormed the 42,000 tonne ship and re-claimed it in just seven minutes.
Okorie and Sylvester yesterday appeared at Southampton Magistrates’ Court for their first court appearance.
Both men have been charged with an offence relating to conduct endangering ships under section 58 Merchant Shipping Act 1995.
They will appear at a crown court next month and the five other men – who were arrested on suspicion of seizing or exercising control of a ship by use of threats or force – remain on police bail.
A Hampshire Constabulary spokesperson said: “Two men have been charged and appeared in court today (December 26) as part of the ongoing Hampshire Constabulary led investigation into the maritime security incident that took place on board the Nave Andromeda.
“The two men, Matthew John Okorie, 25, and Sunday Sylvester, 22, have been charged with an offence relating to conduct endangering ships under section 58 Merchant Shipping Act 1995.
“They appeared before Southampton Magistrates’ Court this morning and have been remanded in custody. They will next appear at Southampton Crown Court on January 29, 2021.
“Five other men, who were arrested on suspicion of seizing or exercising control of a ship by use of threats or force, remain on police bail until January 25, 2021 whilst Hampshire Constabulary’s investigation continues.
“They are currently detained under Border Force powers.”
Reports on October 25 claimed the Nave Andromeda had been ‘hijacked’ however this was disputed by its owners.