Sun, 03 Dec 2023

Aussie police seize cocaine in cargo ship

24 Sep 2023, 02:05 GMT+10

SYDNEY, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Australia Federal Police (AFP) said on Saturday that the authorities seized more than 200 kg of cocaine concealed in the hull of a cargo ship last month.

According to an AFP statement, Australian Border Force (ABF) officers used an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle to search a vessel docked in Melbourne's Maribyrnong Terminal on Aug. 9.

They identified a suspicious hull attachment in the ship's sea chest, which is an area of the vessel that contains pipes used to pump seawater into and out of ballast tanks.

Packages of cocaine were retrieved from inside the sea chest and then seized, the AFP said, adding that the ship had traveled from Argentina via New Zealand before docked in the port of Melbourne.

The AFP said that the cocaine from the ship had an estimated street value of 80 million Australian dollars (about 51.54 million U.S. dollars).

The police had begun an investigation to identify the source of the drugs and their intended destination.

ABF Maritime and Enforcement South Branch Commander Clinton Sims said that Australia was being targeted by organized crime groups moving illegal drugs through the border using parasitic hull attachments on commercial ships.

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