UK anti-terrorist police, the Royal Navy and HM Customs and Excise officers boarded the 27,481 DWT bulk carrier Nisha in international waters in the English Channel off the Sussex Coast in South East England this morning

UK anti-terrorist police, the Royal Navy and HM Customs and Excise officers boarded the 27,481 DWT bulk carrier Nisha in international waters in the English Channel off the Sussex Coast in South East England this morning.

“The crew is co-operating fully and the ship inspected,” a statement from London’s Metropolitan Police said, but “it is not possible to say how long officers will remain aboard,” the statement added.

A police spokesman declined to provide further information about the incident and a spokeswoman for the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said that the MCA was not involved in the incident.

The St Vincent flagged ship is carrying a cargo of sugar destined for Tate & Lyle, but is now believed to be heading south west to an unknown destination under naval escort. At 1400, however, the UK’s Solent Coastguard, which monitors the waters this route suggests, told Fairplay that it knew nothing about the incident, which occurred at 0800 GMT.

The ship had sailed from Mauritius, the police said, but, despite this routeing, one report said the ship was travelling east to west when boarded. Nisha has twice been reported sold for scrap; once in March 2000 by Allied Shipbroking and again in July this year by SSY.