Practical Boat Owner: Around 300 kilos of cocaine was discovered at Portsmouth, concealed within a shipment of bananas which had originated in Colombia.
Cocaine with a likely UK street value in excess of £40 million has been seized following an operation involving the National Crime Agency, Border Force and the Irish Garda. The drugs were seized following the search of the cargo vessel Star Stratos at Portsmouth port yesterday evening (Monday 1 December).
Approximately 300 kilos were discovered concealed within a shipment of bananas which had originated in Colombia. Investigations are continuing both in the UK and Ireland in conjunction with An Garda Síochána.
Deputy director Tom Dowdall, from the National Crime Agency’s Border Policing Command, said: “Working with our law enforcement partners in the UK and Ireland we have successfully prevented a huge quantity of what is likely to be very high purity cocaine reaching our streets. Our investigations into the organised crime groups likely to be responsible for this shipment continues.”
“This seizure once again demonstrates the international reach of the NCA and the impact we are having on the criminal networks involved in drug trafficking.”
Border Force Regional Director Carole Upshall said: “Border Force officers are on the front line of the fight to stop illegal drugs like cocaine making it on to the UK’s streets and causing harm to our communities. Working with the NCA we are determined to do all we can to tackle traffickers and the criminal groups behind smuggling.”
This is the second joint operation between the NCA and An Garda Síochána which has resulted in a huge cocaine seizure in less than three months.
In September around a tonne of cocaine was seized by the Irish Naval Service from the yacht Makayabella around 300 miles off the south west coast of Ireland.
The NCA has over 300 border investigators at major ports, investigating detections of drugs, firearms, cash and other non-fiscal crime made by Border Force. The Border Policing Command also has an extensive overseas network of around 120 officers covering over 150 countries around the world.
Yachting & Boating World: Eastbourne RNLI were called out to a mayday distress call on Sunday afternoon. Four men were rescued by the RNLI after their boat’s engine exploded seven miles offshore.
Eastbourne’s all-weather lifeboat responded to a mayday distress call and attended the fishing boat. An RNLI spokesperson said: “The four fishermen were seven miles south-east of Sovereign Harbour when the engine of their boat emitted a loud bang.
“Fearful that a disaster was about to follow, the occupants put out an all stations distress alert on their VHF radio.”
Dover Coastguard and a boarder agency vessel Searcher nearby both picked up the call, with Eastbourne RNLI being asked to attend the scene.
Searcher waited near to the stricken vessel until volunteer crews arrived and was later stood down. After climbing aboard, RNLI crewmen checked everything was secure before rigging a tow and taking the vessel back to the harbour. Despite being a bit cold, none of the men were injured during the incident.