Yachting Boating World: The pair were on a two month cruise from England to Australia via several other countries when they were caught with the cocaine.

 

Canadian Isabelle Lagacé, 28, and Melina Roberge, 22, were on a dream holiday on a cruise that took them from England to Australia stopping in several countries.

The pair documented their fabulous trip on MS Sea Princess by posting pictures of their travels on Instagram.

However when they arrived at Sydney harbour on Sunday, 28 August, they were stopped by the Australian Federal Police and found with 200 pounds worth of cocaine in their suitcases, for a value of almost £17m.

Another Canadian man, André Tamine, 63, who was travelling on the same cruise, was also stopped and cocaine was found in his luggage too. It’s unclear whether he was travelling with the women.

The police are trying to determine when the drugs were brought on to the ship, which went through ports in North America, South America and the Caribbean.

The arrests was the result of a cooperative investigation between the Australian, Canadian and American authorities.

Lagacé and Roberge’s documentation of their trip on Instagram helped the police track them down seven weeks into their dream cruise.

The trio, all from Quebec, are now facing life in prison, the maximum sentence in Australia for drug smuggling.

See article at Yachting Boating World

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Practical Boat Owner: Two charged after cannabis worth thousands is found on a yacht at Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne.

 

Police who boarded a yacht entering Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne, shortly after midnight yesterday (9 June), found it was carrying herbal cannabis with an estimated street value of £280,000.

Two men who were on the vessel were arrested and are due to appear before Brighton magistrates this morning.

Anthony Keiran Poyser, 28, and Harrison Law, 21, both of no fixed address, are each charged with being jointly concerned in the improper importation of cannabis to the United Kingdom.

Cannabis is a class B controlled drug.

Chief Inspector Emma Brice, Eastbourne district police commander, said: ‘I am aware of the concern about the security of smaller ports and harbours around Britain’s coastline.

‘I would like to reassure people that police are alert to the situation and will respond whenever circumstances demand.’

See article at Practical Boat Owner

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Practical Boat Owner: Two men who sailed a yacht carrying almost a tonne of cocaine across the Atlantic have been sentenced to more than 34 years in prison.

 

Sailing the yacht were Raymond Aalders, 47, and skipper, Hendrik Brugmans, 69, both Dutch nationals. National Crime Agency (NCA) investigators found evidence that Brugmans was paid 1.2 million Euros for making the trip.

They were both arrested after the yacht Golem was intercepted by a Border Force cutter off the coast of Rye on 31 August 2015.

At the time of its interception the Golem had it’s navigation beacon turned off and was noticeably listing to one side.

The 56ft yacht was escorted into Dover marina, where a search by specialist Border Force teams revealed hundreds of packages of drugs concealed in specially made hides in a workshop, water tank, and underneath benches.

In interviews with NCA officers they both admitted sailing the vessel from Curacao in the southern Caribbean. The boat’s destination was believed to have been the Netherlands.

Forensic tests on the packages revealed the cocaine was 70 percent pure, and if adulterated and sold in the UK would have had a potential street value of around £120 million.

Both Brugmans and Aalders pleaded guilty to importing class A drugs and were sentenced today at Maidstone Crown Court to 20 years and nine months and 14 years respectively.

Matt Rivers from the NCA’s border investigation team said: ‘These two men were involved in an audacious plot to smuggle millions of pounds worth of high purity class A drugs into Europe.

‘Their reckless attempts to avoid detection by breaching sailing regulations could have had extremely dangerous consequences.

‘It is believed the final destination of the boat was to be the Netherlands but given the sheer scale of this seizure, it is likely that a large amount of the drugs would have ended up being sold on the streets of the UK.

‘The NCA will continue to work with Border Force to disrupt the organised criminals involved in trafficking cocaine to Europe and the UK.’

See article at Practical Boat Owner

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Yachting Boating World: French police say they’ve arrested five people in the Breton port of Saint-Quay-Portrieux after finding migrants stowed away on a yacht bound for the UK.

 

French police announced on 17 May that they had busted a smuggling network that was using yachts to transport migrants to the UK.

Seven Ukrainian nationals were found on board a yacht in the north west port of Saint-Quay-Portrieux in Brittany on 13 May.

Two skippers and three suspected smugglers were arrested. The Ukrainians, who had arrived in the country using tourists visas, were set free and ordered to leave France.

The French press are reporting that the gang chartered yachts, which they crewed themselves, out of ‘various’ ports in Normandy and Brittany.

They are believed to have made more than 20 trips over the last two years, ferrying migrants across the Channel to the UK. It is unclear where the migrants were brought ashore in the UK.

The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) is involved in the investigation.

In a statement to YBW, the NCA said: “We are aware of the arrests made in France and the NCA has supported the French authorities in their operation. Investigations in the UK, led by the NCA, are ongoing.”

The gang has been monitored by the authorities since 2014, after British customs officials caught six Ukrainians trying to come ashore from a yacht off the eastern coast of England.

The head of France’s anti-smuggling office, known as OCRIEST, Julien Gentile said this was not the usual means of transport for migrants. “This migration network used a relatively rare and costly method, because the journey cost around 6,000 to 7,000 euros,” he said.

In 2015, a gang of Breton fishermen based in Plérin were jailed for five years after being found guilty of smuggling 130 Albanian migrants into the UK. The trial was held in Rennes.

The mastermind behind the ring, Albanian national Edmond Rapi sentenced to seven years in prison in absentia, and an international arrest warrant was issued. He was also ordered to pay a £110,000 fine.

The fishermen carried out trips between 2002 and 2003, ferrying migrants between ports in Brittany and Normandy and coves and beaches along the coastline between Weymouth, Plymouth and South East Cornwall.

They were arrested in June 2014 following an extensive operation by the French and UK authorities as well as Europol and Eurojust.

A Europol spokesman said an estimated 200 migrants were linked to the smuggling ring over a two year period.

French police announced on 17 May that they had busted a smuggling network that was using yachts to transport migrants to the UK.

Seven Ukrainian nationals were found on board a yacht in the north west port of Saint-Quay-Portrieux in Brittany on 13 May.

Two skippers and three suspected smugglers were arrested. The Ukrainians, who had arrived in the country using tourists visas, were set free and ordered to leave France.

The French press are reporting that the gang chartered yachts, which they crewed themselves, out of ‘various’ ports in Normandy and Brittany.

They are believed to have made more than 20 trips over the last two years, ferrying migrants across the Channel to the UK. It is unclear where the migrants were brought ashore in the UK.

The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) is involved in the investigation.

In a statement to YBW, the NCA said: “We are aware of the arrests made in France and the NCA has supported the French authorities in their operation. Investigations in the UK, led by the NCA, are ongoing.”

The gang has been monitored by the authorities since 2014, after British customs officials caught six Ukrainians trying to come ashore from a yacht off the eastern coast of England.

The head of France’s anti-smuggling office, known as OCRIEST, Julien Gentile said this was not the usual means of transport for migrants.

“This migration network used a relatively rare and costly method, because the journey cost around 6,000 to 7,000 euros,” he said.

In 2015, a gang of Breton fishermen based in Plérin were jailed for five years after being found guilty of smuggling 130 Albanian migrants into the UK. The trial was held in Rennes.

The mastermind behind the ring, Albanian national Edmond Rapi sentenced to seven years in prison in absentia, and an international arrest warrant was issued. He was also ordered to pay a £110,000 fine.

The fishermen carried out trips between 2002 and 2003, ferrying migrants between ports in Brittany and Normandy and coves and beaches along the coastline between Weymouth, Plymouth and South East Cornwall.

They were arrested in June 2014 following an extensive operation by the French and UK authorities as well as Europol and Eurojust.

A Europol spokesman said an estimated 200 migrants were linked to the smuggling ring over a two year period.

See article at Yachting Boating World

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Motorboat & Yachting: A jury today convicted two men at the Old Bailey, following the largest seizure of automatic weapons in UK history.

 

Two men were convicted at the Old Bailey today (April 21) over a plot to smuggle a record haul of automatic weapons into the UK.

Harry Shilling and Michael Defraine were found guilty by a jury and will be sentenced on May 13 alongside three other men, who had already pleaded guilty, including David Payne who drove the heavily armed boat across the Channel.

Motor yacht Albernina was being tracked by the National Crime Agency (NCA) when it left UK waters on August 9 2015 and made the crossing to the French port of Boulogne-sur-Mer.

Here the men picked up a large consignment of automatic weapons, including 22 VZ58 assault rifles, 9 Skorpion machine guns, 58 magazines, two silencers and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

When they returned to Britain the follow day and moored up near Cuxton on the River Medway, the authorities closed in on them.

Three people were arrested on the scene, a further two were picked up at a local DIY store where they were buying spades and pick-axes to bury the illegal weapons haul, and a sixth was arrested a local McDonalds restaurant after attempting to flee.

Rob Lewin, head of specialist operations at the NCA, said: “This seizure of automatic weapons was the largest ever made by the NCA – and, we believe, the largest ever on the UK mainland.

“We cannot say for certain what the organised crime group would have done with the weapons had they not been stopped,” he added.

“In bringing them to justice we have had fantastic support from our partners at Kent Police, the Crown Prosecution Service and Border Force. I have no doubt that together we have protected the public and saved lives.”

See article at Motorboat & Yachting

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Practical Boat Owner: A man from Hull has been jailed for an additional six years after admitting his part in a smuggling conspiracy to sail more than a tonne of cocaine into the UK on a yacht.

A ninth person, Wayne Bush, 45, is to be convicted over the smuggling plot on the yacht Makayabella, intercepted by the Irish Navy of the south-west coast of Ireland in September 2014.

The cocaine found on board would have had a street value in excess of £160 million if it had it cut and sold in the UK, where the vessel was headed to.

NCA National Crime Agency investigators found that Wayne Bush was part of a three man “coopering crew” who were due to sail out and meet Makayabella to bring back the drugs.

An attempt to meet the boat had previously failed after the boat ran out of fuel, and the three men on board, including ringleader Stephen Powell, had to be towed back to port.

Two days later Stephen Powell and another gang member, James Hill, met up with Wayne Bush and to try buying another boat at a marina in Milford Haven, south Wales but was unsuccessful.

When the three men found out that their boat Makayabella had been intercepted and the drugs seized, they dumped the car that they were travelling in at Cardiff Airport.

When their car was searched, six drums containing red diesel for the planned boat trip were found in the car boot.

A marina compliments slip with both Stephen Powell and Wayne Bush’s fingerprints on it was also discovered.

Wayne Bush was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for an unrelated assault offence, but in June 2015 he was arrested by the NCA at HMP Humber in connection with the Makayabella plot.

He pleaded guilty to conspiring to import class A drugs at Leeds Crown Court on 15 March, and he was sentenced to a six year prison sentence, to serve consecutively to the three-and-a-half years that he is already serving.

“Wayne Bush’s role in this major drugs conspiracy was to assist in a second attempt to rescue the yacht when it broke down in order to transfer one tonne of cocaine to another boat out at sea. Thankfully, attempts to find another boat were unsuccessful. Had the plan succeeded, £164 million worth of drugs would have landed on Britain’s streets”, said Tarryn McCaffrey, reviewing lawyer in the Organised Crime Division at the Crown Prosecution Service.

This drug case shows that each and every member of a gang can be successfully prosecuted for their involvement in these crimes, even if they are part of a large organised crime group.

See article at Practical Boat Owner

 

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Motorboat & Yachting: BAE Systems has been awarded £13.5m to build 60 new lightweight rapid response boats for the Royal Navy.

 

The Royal Navy has signed a multi-million pound contract for 60 next generation Pacific 24 Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs) to be built in Portsmouth by BAE Systems.

The new boats are designed to be deployed from ship or shore for anti-piracy or drugs missions, or to perform rescue operations.

Travelling at speeds of up to 44 miles per hour, the boats can put a huge physical strain on their driver and crew, and have required extensive design changes to compensate.

The new fleet of RIBs are being fitted with shock absorbing seats to minimise the impact on crew members, and the change has the added benefit of allowing the boats to travel up to six-times further.

The seats are heavy, however, and designers had to find ways to cut weight elsewhere on the boats according to Ben Mason, project manager for the P24 RIB.

To make the savings, the boats are being fitted with a new, lightweight 370HP twin turbo diesel electronic engine.

“Since the engine is electronic, it means a lot of the heavy mechanical components have been removed,” Mason said.

Fibre-reinforced composite is also being used in the boat itself, according to Mason. The composite contains less epoxy resin than traditional polyester resin materials, and has a foam core, both of which help to reduce weight.

“The main weight saving comes through the production process,” he said. “The new P24s are manufactured from carbon and various types of glass, which are oriented in such a way as to give optimised strength to the boat.”

The RIBs will be built over the next four years at the company’s small boats manufacturing facility at Portsmouth Naval Base. They will be deployed on the Royal Navy’s Off Shore Patrol Vessels, and the new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, which are due to arrive in Portsmouth in 2017.

See article at Motorboat & Yachting

Practical Boat Owner: Two men have appeared in court after Border Force officers seized more than a tonne of cocaine with an estimated street value in excess of £56million from a yacht at Dover.

Practical Boat Owner: £56million of cocaine seized from a yacht at Dover

The yacht, Golem, was intercepted in UK waters off the Kent coast on 31 August by the Border Force cutter, Vigilant.  After boarding the yacht officers questioned the two Dutch nationals aboard and escorted the vessel into Dover marina.

The cutter officers, assisted by specialist colleagues from the Border Force National Deep Rummage team, then searched the yacht and found the 1,200 kilos of cocaine.

The two men, Hendrik Brugmans and Raymond Aalders were arrested and the investigation passed to the National Crime Agency who questioned the pair.

Brugmans, 68, who gave an address on the Caribbean island of Curacao and Aalders, 46, of Kesteren, Netherlands, appeared at Folkestone Magistrates Court on 2 September charged with drug trafficking offences.

Brugmans withheld his plea while Aalders denied the charge. They were remanded in custody and will next appear at Maidstone Crown Court on Friday, 25 September.

Sue Young, Border Force regional director said: ‘Excellent work by the crew of the Vigilant and officers from our specialist deep rummage team has prevented a huge amount of cocaine from reaching the streets.

‘Our fleet of cutters plays a key role in protecting the UK by intercepting and deterring shipments of drugs and other prohibited goods, as well as vessels operated by criminal gangs who attempt to traffic people into the country.

‘Working with the NCA we are determined to do all we can to prevent drug smuggling and put those responsible behind bars.’

Elaine Game, from the NCA’s Dover border investigation team, said: ‘This was an exceptional seizure.

‘At this stage the end destination for the boat is unclear, however given the amount recovered it seems likely that at least part of the shipment would have ended up back in Britain.

“Our investigation is continuing and we are working closely with European partners. We’re committed to doing all we can to disrupt and target the organised crime networks involved in drug trafficking.”

Border Force officers use an array of search techniques including sniffer dogs, carbon dioxide detectors, heartbeat monitors and scanners – as well as visual searches – to find well-hidden stowaways, illegal drugs, firearms and tobacco.

Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling should call the smuggling hotline on 0800 59 5000.

See article at Practical Boat Owner

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Motorboat & Yachting: Three men were arrested last week after sneaking into the country on board a brand new Broom 35 Coupe.

 

Bushnells Marina was the site of a dramatic escape last week, when three stowaways fled from a brand new Broom 35 that was being delivered.

Two men in their 20s from Pakistan and a man in his 30s from Iran leapt from the coupe when the transporter lorry stopped outside the West Berkshire marina.

The driver immediately called Thames Valley police who successfully tracked down and arrested the suspected illegal immigrants.

It is believed that the men snuck on board the brand new Broom 35 while it was being transported across the channel on a car ferry.

Broom have promised to take the boat back to their Brundle facility to be cleaned up and returned to pristine condition, after drugs and dirt were found on board.

New owner Ian Tritton told the Henley Standard that although he was satisfied with Broom’s reaction to the incident, he was “annoyed” that Border Control had allowed this to happen in the first place.

“Given the situation in Calais, these guys have obviously been spreading around ports in France looking for a way to get across,” Mr Tritton told the local newspaper.

“It’s a very sad situation for them and we feel for them but in this case we are annoyed at the various people involved, like the boat’s transporters and Border Control,” he added. “They need to be much tougher. Our private space has been violated.”

See article at Motorboat & Yachting

Motorboat & Yachting: This Zijlmans 64 was used to smuggle cocaine, but got a new lease of life when Paul Reed snapped it up at a Government auction.

 

When a motoryacht falls into the wrong hands, the results can be devastating, as the story of this Zijlmans 64 proves.

A drug cartel used this classic Dutch model to smuggle a 1.2-tonne stash of cocaine into the UK, stuffing the narcotics into a secret compartment under the bathing platform.

When she was seized in 2011, customs officials tore the boat apart looking for the incriminating drugs, leaving her in a very sorry state.

However, this didn’t deter Paul Reed who saw great potential in this fallen beauty and snapped her up at a Government auction for a little over £100,000.

In the February edition of MBY, editor Hugo Andreae hears how Paul spent just over £40,000 to turn her into his new vessel Big Bird, which now doubles as a floating B&B during the off-season.

To take a look at this exhaustive restoration process of this 2002 Zijlmans 64, click on the slideshow above, and for the full story, pick up the February edition of MBY, which is out on 2 January 2015.
See article at Motorboat & Yachting – Click here

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