Following a challenging underway boarding at sea, Irish authorities detained a 50,000 dwt bulker said to be loaded with drugs, possibly cocaine.
While the drugs’ value has not been ascertained yet, per officials, it is worth tens of millions of euros. Many sources who spoke with the Irish Times said it could exceed €100 million. However, it will become clear once the ship is thoroughly searched.
The @IrishAirCorps played a pivotal role during the high profile joint security operation! Precision flying in tricky conditions was required to insert @defenceforces ARW operatives which resulted in the interception of a vessel carrying a substantial quantity of narcotics!👇 pic.twitter.com/fpryfYrsUa
— Irish Air Corps (@IrishAirCorps) September 26, 2023
After careful investigation, officers of the Irish Navy, Air Corps and the Army Ranger Wing boarded MV Matthew on 26 September.
The ship did not halt when ordered, and hence, warning shots were fired as the crew of the bulker refused to stop, preventing the officers from boarding the vessel.
Videos of the incident show the ship having its rudder hard over to port with the engine at full speed ahead while an Air Corps helicopter tries to hold its position over the bow.
A boarding team came down on the ship from the helicopter onto the vessel. Then members of the Navy, Garda National Drugs & Organized Crime Bureau and Revenue’s Customs Service also arrived.
The vessel was confiscated and taken to the port of Cork, after which three men aged 60, 50 and 31 were detained in Wexford on suspicion of involvement in criminal offences.
Per Irish authorities, the bulker Matthew was shipping cocaine across the Atlantic, transferring the drugs to smaller ships.
References: Irish times, the Independent
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