The Special Boat Service which stormed an oil tanker off the Isle of Wight is closely linked to the SAS
The secret Special Boat Service, which stormed an oil tanker off the coast of the Isle of Wight on Sunday evening and arrested seven stowaways suspected of seizing it, is Britain’s elite military unit responsible for combating terrorists and other violent incidents located at sea Its origins date back to World War II and the Ministry of Defense refuses to say how many combatants it includes or to give the smallest details about its operations
SBS agents are trained to take control of ships, tankers or rigs, usually by rapidly descending helicopters A similar operation in December 2018 saw the SBS take control of an Italian tanker that has attempted to be hijacked by four stowaways near Tilbury in Essex, on orders from then Prime Minister Theresa May
SBS figures are around two hundred, according to military sources, with women and men serving on the front lines Based in Poole, Dorset, just a few miles from the stricken tanker off the island of Wight, the unit is part of the Royal Navy with members on standby at all times
Although distinct from the more well-known Hereford-based Special Air Service, the SBS is closely linked there within the British Special Forces SBS and SAS troops are trained to a common standard after a notoriously demanding selection program in which only members of the armed forces and reservists can apply
Training begins with endurance exercises at the Brecon Beacons in Wales – where three potential recruits have died of heat stroke after taking part in long walks on one of the busiest days. hottest of 2013 Training then moves to the jungles of Belize, where candidates must demonstrate survival skills over long periods of time
It is also not uncommon for SBS members to operate on land when needed and the unit was actively engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan. Because its activities are not officially disclosed, they and their Special Forces counterparts have become an increasingly important part of the armed forces as a whole, attracting politicians because they can operate in a « gray area », engaging in clandestine operations where the UK may not want to acknowledge that it is active
SBS, Isle of Wight, stowaway, Nef Andromeda
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