4 stowaways detained as ship incident resolved in England

LONDON — A potentially violent incident involving four stowaways armed with iron bars on a cargo ship in the Thames Estuary, just outside of London, has been resolved without any injuries.

Essex police said Saturday that four men have been detained under the Immigration Act after the "complex incident" was resolved.

Britain's Ministry of Defense said that "due to the nature of the operation" it could not comment on tabloid newspaper reports that the Royal Navy's Special Boat Service had been tasked with securing the ship.

The ship operator, Grimaldi Lines, said four stowaways had been menacing the crew of the Grande Tema with iron bars and demanding the vessel be brought close to the English coast.

"That request was probably because they wanted to jump and reach the British coast," Paul Kyprianou, a spokesman for Grimaldi Lines, told Sky News.

Police said the vessel was "boarded and secured shortly after 11 p.m. on Friday" and was brought to port.

The four men who have been detained have not been named or charged. Police have not commented on what took place on board the ship to lead to their intervention.

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