Italian special forces boarded a cargo ship sailing from Turkey to France Friday, after the crew were threatened by “pirates” off the Italian coast, the defense ministry said.
“An operation is underway on a vessel boarded by pirates... The stowaways were using what seem to be weapons like daggers” to threaten the crew, Defense Minister Guido Crosetto told reporters.
Marines boarded the ship off Naples after the group, “allegedly migrants, threatened the crew with knives,” a ministry press officer told AFP.
Special forces have since regained control of the ship, which had been “sailing from Turkey to France”, but a search was underway for some of the stowaways, the press officer said.
The ship was the Galata Seaways, a roll-on roll-off cargo ship -- designed to carry vehicles -- sailing under a Turkish flag with 22 crew members, according to Italian media reports.
“The group of migrants tried to take some of the crew hostage inside the bridge,” ANSA news agency said.
Two navy helicopters as well as coast guard and financial police boats were involved in the operation, the ministry said.