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Turkish cargo ship hijacking attempted

Turkish cargo ship after attempted hijack
Turkish cargo ship after attempted hijack

The incident involving the attempted hijacking of the Turkish cargo ship, Galatea Seaways, by a group of armed individuals took place on June 7, 2023. The ship was sailing from Turkey to France when the stowaways, consisting of 13 men and two women mainly from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq, managed to sneak aboard undetected.

Upon discovery by the crew, the stowaways attempted to take some of the sailors hostage using knives. The captain of the ship promptly alerted the authorities, and an urgent request for assistance was sent to Ankara, which then reported the incident to Italian authorities since the ship was navigating 90 miles off the Italian coast.

Italy’s defense minister, Guido Crossett, confirmed the situation and stated that an operation was underway to deal with the pirates, referring to the stowaways. The San Marco battalion, a special forces unit, was deployed to regain control of the ship.

After a nearly seven-hour operation involving two navy helicopters, coastguard, and financial police boats, the special forces successfully regained control of the ship. The alleged hijackers were arrested, some of whom had barricaded themselves in the hold of the vessel.

Following the operation, the Galatea Seaways was anchored just outside the port of Naples, and the entire crew of 22 members was reported to be safe. The incident highlighted the challenges posed by illegal immigration and the risks faced by ships and their crews operating in the Mediterranean region.

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