When the oil tanker ‘Nave Andromeda’ came under a suspected hijack whilst idling off the coast of the Isle of Wight, there was only one organisation to call – the Special Boat Service (SBS).

Around 16 SBS commandos boarded the ship and implemented a textbook operation to rescue the crew and capture the hijack which it thought to have been initiated by a group of stowaways.


According to a maritime risk expert, the entire operation was all over in seven minutes after the commandos were roped on board by two Royal Navy Merlin helicopters.

“We wouldn’t expect anything less than a smooth and seamless manoeuvre from the SBS, they are truly a world class team of individuals that I think every British citizen is immensely proud of,” states Paul Weldon, managing director of The Panic Room Company.

Continues Paul: “Piracy is a highly lucrative activity globally and I think, due to the continuing pandemic, we will see a rise in attacks over the coming months.

“A safe and secure room for a ship’s crew to seek refuge during a hijacking is a tried and tested way of successfully concluding pirate attacks. This room is often referred to as a citadel and the citadel method, recommended by the International Marine Security Centre, is employed in the event of a marine piracy attack.

“On board almost every commercial ship you will find a citadel. This room will have food and water supplies and effective communication channels to be able to communicate with the outside world, with a proper system of ventilation and a first aid kit, just like a panic or safe room that you would find inside a residential or commercial property.”

Concludes Paul: “A certain level of investment is obviously required to create an effective and secure citadel aboard a vessel and large shipping companies often view the creation of an anti-piracy stronghold as a major expenditure. However, compared to some of the ransoms demanded by pirates, this cost is negligible and unrivalled in improving the efficacy of delivering a favourable outcome in a hostile pirate attack when it comes to preserving the crew’s lives.”