Flashback: 4 Nigerian stowaways jailed in January this year: L-R-Joberto McGee, Toheeb Popoola, Samuel Jolumi and Ishola Sunday

A group of at least seven Nigerian stowaways has been discovered hidden aboard an oil tanker as it headed into Southampton.

The stowaways were found aboard the Libyan-registered oil tanker near to the Isle of Wight.

This triggered security concerns, with the ship sailors alerting the police at around 9am today.

The Libya registered ship heading for Southampton with Nigerian stowaways

Crew members are reportedly sheltering in a safe room on the vessel, named the ‘Nave Andromeda’, with initial reports suggesting the incident was a hijacking.

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However lawyers representing the vessel’s owners, which had come from Nigeria, today told the BBC the incident was ‘100 per cent not a hijacking’.

The crude oil tanker is currently to the south of Bembridge.

Police have set up a five mile exclusion zone.

Home Secretary Priti Patel is being kept up-to-date on the incident, according to Sky News.

The developing incident was reminiscent of another in December 2018, when four Nigerian stowaways were found on another sailing into the UK.

When they were found, they hurled faeces at the sailors and vowed to infect them with HIV.

They were however arrested and jailed in January this year for a total of seven years.

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*With reports by Mail Online