MILAN (AP) — Italian special forces have regained control of a Turkish ship that had been attacked by armed stowaways off the southern city of Naples, Italy’s defense minister told state television on Friday.

Defense Minister Guido Crosetto said the operation was still underway and that Italian forces were securing the safety of the 22 crew members aboard the “Galeta Seaways,” while rounding up the stowaways.

The special forces lowered themselves onto the Turkish ship from two helicopters in the dramatic operation to free crew held by about 15 stowaways, two or three armed with sharp objects, Crosetto said.

The stowaways moved to take control of the cargo ship that was en route to France after being discovered, but the captain was able to sound an alarm. Italian custom patrol boats blocked the Turkish ship, while the special forces boarded, Crosetto said.

Some of the stowaways continued to elude capture, Crosetto said.

“We hope it will end as soon as possible without consequences for anyone,’’ he told RAI.