Sailors’ Society responds to stowaway incident off UK coast

blue ship boat chain

Seafarers “extremely vulnerable” to attacks – Sailors’ Society responds to stowaway incident off UK coast 

Attacks on ships can be “utterly terrifying” for the seafarers involved, Sailors’ Society CEO Sara Baade has said, following an incident off the Isle of Wight this weekend during which stowaways reportedly became violent towards an oil tanker crew.

The 22 crew on the Nave Andromeda withdrew to the citadel and radioed for help on Sunday morning after seven stowaways who had illegally boarded in Lagos, Nigeria, became hostile towards them, according to news reports.

The UK’s Special Boat Service ended the stand-off 10 hours later, dropping onto the vessel by rope from four Royal Navy helicopters under cover of darkness.

Sailors’ Society’s CEO Sara Baade said: “It’s utterly terrifying to be faced with a gang of men threatening violence, especially when you’re miles out to sea. Unfortunately, seafarers are extremely vulnerable to attacks from pirates or desperate stowaways when they’re just trying to do their job – in fact, it’s such a huge problem we’ve had to specially train our support staff in trauma recovery. 

“Situations like this can easily get out of hand leading to injury or worse, so it’s great news for the crew that the UK authorities stepped in so quickly to keep them safe. We’re on standby at our Southampton seafarer centre to give them any support they need.”  

Sailors’ Society set up its Crisis Response Network in 2015. The global network of specially trained chaplains provides a 24-7 rapid response trauma care and counselling service for survivors of piracy attacks, natural disasters and other crises at sea. 

The BBC quoted the tanker’s operator, Navios Tanker Management, as paying tribute to “the master of the Nave Andromeda for his exemplary response and calmness and to all the crew for their fortitude in a difficult situation.” 

About Sailors’ Society  

Sailors’ Society has been bringing people together for more than 200 years, transforming the lives of seafarers and their families at home, in port and at sea through the delivery of chaplaincy, education and the relief of poverty and distress.  

The charity works internationally to provide practical, emotional and spiritual welfare support to the world’s 1.6m seafarers, regardless of background or faith. Sailors’ Society chaplains and ship visitors have a presence in more than 90 global ports, with wider projects and services covering 30 countries.  

For more information on the charity’s work, please visit  

Nautilus International welcomes fair pay for seafarers

ship docked

Nautilus International, the trade union for maritime professionals, has welcomed landmark legislation that extends the national minimum wage to all seafarers working in UK waters from 1 October.

Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson said: ‘This is a major triumph for our lobbying of government and should be welcomed by the industry, as it helps establish a level playing field by putting a floor in the wages of all seafarers in UK waters, including one-port voyages on the UK continental shelf. It will thus help protect UK seafarer jobs.’

Previously, the maritime sector was the only UK industry that did not apply the national minimum wage, with some seafarers working in UK waters for as little as £1.83 per hour. This prompted years of campaigning for fair pay by Nautilus International and the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT).

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) chaired talks between the unions and the government in September, resulting in the passage of new legislation to ensure seafarers receive the same pay as workers on shore. It is expected to benefit more than 10,000 maritime workers across the country

‘No companies accessing UK ports should be allowed to employ staff on poverty pay. This new law will extend the minimum wage to thousands of key maritime workers in UK waters, and allow them to enforce their rights,’ TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said.

‘More still needs to be done to tackle seafarer exploitation on international routes from UK ports. But this landmark new law shows what union campaigning can achieve for workers in hard-to-regulate industries like shipping. The RMT and Nautilus International deserve huge credit for securing this legislation.’

The National Minimum Wage (Offshore Employment) (Amendment) Order 2020 extends the National Minimum Wage Act of 1998 to include all seafarers working on merchant ships in UK waters and offshore energy installations on the UK Continental Shelf, provided that their route includes UK ports only. It does not cover cruise ships.