Police are currently dealing with a security incident involving a small number of stowaways thought to have hijacked an oil tanker off the Isle of Wight and Selsey.

The Nave Andromeda, a Liberian registered vessel which weighs more than 42,000 tonnes, was due to dock in Southampton earlier today.

A restriction zone of five nautical miles in now in place around the vessel.

The Argus:

A spokesperson for the Hampshire Police said: "We are dealing with an ongoing incident on board a vessel which is situated south of the Isle of Wight.

"We will provide further updates when we are in a position to do so."

The vessel left Lagos in Nigeria earlier this month and had been due to dock in Southampton at 10.30am this morning. 

A mayday distress signal was sent out at around 9am today (Sunday). 

UPDATE 3.45pm: Two coastguard helicopters are confirmed to have been scrambled to the scene and were spotted circling the ship on Sunday afternoon, and an exclusion zone was set up in the area south of Sandown.

A coastguard spokeswoman said: “We are currently assisting Hampshire Constabulary with an incident on board a vessel situated off the Isle of Wight.

“The search and rescue helicopters from Lee on Solent and Lydd are in attendance.”

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said it was aware of the incident.