ROME, June 9 (Reuters) – Italian special forces boarded a Turkish cargo ship on Friday after the crew spotted a group of unidentified people, some of whom were armed, on board, Rome’s defense ministry said on Friday, adding the operation was still ongoing underway
Italian Minister Guido Crosetto said at an event that there were 15 “illegal migrants” on board, but gave no details on how they managed to get there or which country they came from.
“Now the entire crew needs to be freed and the ship secured,” Crosetto said, adding that operations are still ongoing.
A statement from the Turkish Ministry of Transport said Galata Seaways The roll-on-roll-off cargo ship was en route from the Turkish port of Yalova to Sete in France.
It said the crew noticed the presence of other people on board late Friday morning through surveillance cameras that showed them wandering around the boat and possibly carrying sharp objects.
Italian Crosetto said that between two and three of them were carrying guns.
The crew locked themselves in the engine room and alerted the maritime authorities in Turkey, who in turn contacted Italy and France.
They then set sail towards the southern Italian city of Naples, the statement said.
(Reporting by Angelo Amante, Federica Urso and Yesim Dikmen, Editing by Nick Macfie)
(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.