Italian forces storm, secure Turkish ship after 'illegal migrants' attempt hijack

By India Today World Desk: Italian special forces on Friday successfully regained control of a Turkish ship that had been attacked by armed stowaways, generally migrants, off the southern city of Naples.

The development was confirmed by Italy’s defense minister as he addressed a news conference.

Defense Minister Guido Crosetto said the operation was still underway and that Italian forces were securing the safety of the 22 crew members aboard the “Galeta Seaways” while rounding up the stowaways.

“An operation is underway on a vessel boarded by pirates. The stowaways were using what seemed to be weapons like daggers to threaten the crew,” Crosetto told reporters.

“The San Marco battalion had to intervene,” he said.

Meanwhile, a video on social media showed the moment when the Italian special forces intervened to free the hijacked Turkish ship.

The Italian special forces free the Turkish ship hijacked in Capri by illegal immigrants armed with knives. Well done!
— RadioGenova (@RadioGenova) June 9, 2023

For the operation, the special forces lowered themselves onto the Turkish ship from two helicopters, to free crew held by about 15 stowaways, two or three armed with sharp objects, Crosetto said.

The captain had sounded an alarm soon after the stowaways, whose nationality has not been disclosed, had moved to take control of the cargo ship.

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“What is known about the hijackers is that they are illegal immigrants. Let’s hope it ends as quickly as possible without consequences for anyone,” Crosetto added.

The vessel, designed to carry vehicles and sailing under a Turkish flag with 22 crew members, set off from Topçular in Turkey on June 7 and was headed for Sète in southern France.

Italian custom patrol boats blocked the Turkish ship, while the special forces boarded, Crosetto said.

Some of the stowaways continued to elude capture, Crosetto said.

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