Spanish police stationed in Africa were called to tackle a knifeman running rampage on a huge Spanish flagged tanker travelling off the coast of Senegal because it was in their jurisdiction.
Ships in international waters are considered the national territory of the flag that they sail under, hence the intervention of the Spanish Civil Guard to evacuate the injured man and arrest the alleged attacker.
He was reportedly a Filipino man who had been overpowered by his colleagues after he attacked one of them with a knife and an axe, causing serious injury.
The initial incident, that occurred off the coast of Dakar on a methane gas ship en route between Bilbao and Nigeria, resulted in the man being locked in a cabin until Spanish police arrived.
The attacker who was not named was identified only by his initials F.D.U.G.
Police said the row was caused by a trivial argument that exploded into violence because the crew had been cooped up together for too long in an enclosed environment.
After the attack the captain requesting assistance for the injured man and the arrest of the locked-up crewmember. He notified the General Directorate of the Merchant Marine, who notified the nearest Spanish police base, which was a maritime detachment of the Civil Guard in Dakar.
They are stationed in the West African country to monitor illegal immigration after Spain signed an agreement with Senegal that allowed them to patrol the coast there.
After police officers landed on the ship, they were able to assist in the evacuation of the injured men and take statements from witnesses that were handed to prosecutors.
The wounded man who had head and neck injuries from the axe had been initially treated in the infirmary of the ship and was later evacuated to a hospital in Dakar by the Civil Guard boat, where he underwent emergency surgery.
Adriana Toston Diaz, head of International Cooperation Operations in the Judicial Police of the Civil Guard, was in charge of coordinating the operation.
She said: “We had to transfer a wounded Spanish man to a hospital as soon as possible … and detain a Filipino man for an alleged crime of attempted homicide or serious injuries. For that we had to go to the ship, evacuate the victim and open an investigation.”
The prosecution of the man that carried out the attack will also be in the hands of Spanish prosecutors.
At the moment the Filipino man is in custody in the jail in the African country, although he will be extradited following international conventions to be tried in Spain.