Thames Estuary alleged stowaways deny hi-jack attempt charge

Four alleged stowaways have denied attempting to hijack a RoRo cargo ship in the Thames Estuary. Special Boat Service (SBS) operatives from Sabre Squadron fast-roped from helicopters on to the Grande Tema (IMO 9672090) late on December 21st and four men were detained.

Grimaldi Group said at the time that the four stowaways were discovered on board around December 17th. They were put under surveillance in a cabin, but escaped. Subsequent events are a matter of the charges.

All four are alleged to have boarded the 71,000-tonne vessel in Lagos, Nigeria, on December 10th . The Grande Tema was heading for Tilbury in Essex.

Samuel Jolumi, 26, Ishola Sunday, 27, Taheeb Popoola, 26, and Joberto McGee, 20 pleaded not guilty to the charges, which included making threats to kill and affray, when they appeared at Basildon Crown Court.

A provisional trial date has been set for October 2nd and the case is listed for six weeks.

2014-built, Italy-flagged, 71,543 gt Grande Tema is owned and managed by Grimaldi Deep Sea SpA of Naples, Italy. It is entered with North of England Club on behalf of Grimaldi Deep Sea SpA. It is entered for H&M with Norwegian Hull Club on behalf of Grimaldi Group SpA. Gard holds a subscription position.