Four men charged following ‘stowaway threats’ aboard Grande Tema

The Grande Tema

Four men have been charged with affray following the incident aboard the Grande Tema in the Thames estuary on December 21.

The men – aged 20, 26, 26, and 27 – were detained  under the Immigration Act following an incident onboard a vessel off Margate where crew were threatened with iron bars by stowaways.

Police, Coastguard and Border officials were called in at 9.15am.

Grimaldi Lines confirmed four migrants aboard the Italian registered Grande Tema threatened staff and crew  locked themselves on the Bridge.

The vessel had been circling erratically in the estuary throughout the day. It had been heading to Tilbury from Nigeria.

A convoy of services headed to Margate seafront Photo Dan Thompson

The situation was brought to an end following a late night operation by Margate and Ramsgate RNLI, Coastguard, police, Navy and the Naval special forces unit, the Special Boat Service.

The Coastguard helicopter was at the Manston airport site and a Royal Navy helicopter was also inbound along with the National Police Air Service. A convoy of services also headed to Margate, close to the Turner Contemporary.

The vessel was boarded by the SBS.

The four are due to appear at Magistrates’ Court on Monday, December 24.


  1. Some reports say that the S.A.S. were involved, not S.B.S.
    No matter, the problem was ‘cured’ by intervention… which is the main thing.

  2. Hopefully the court should detain them in prison until they are deported back to Nigeria, not allow them free reign on our streets to cause further problems. They have demonstrated that they are a danger to the public already and will just disappear into the sunset until committing another crime.

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