385Kg of cocaine being smuggled aboard the Hamburg-Sud container ship Rio De Janeiro has been intercepted by authorities, reported FleetMon.
Italian authorities intercepted the shipment while it was en route from Spain to Italy, 17nm off Giola Tauro. The coastguard began tracking the movements of the Hamburg-Sud on October 18 and moved in after 17 bags were thrown overboard.
When recovered, they were found to contain 350 bricks of cocaine, totalling 385kg, with a street value of close to US$20 million.
The shipment was thought to be ultimately destined for the Ndrangheta mafia, who would have picked up the bags had the authorities not intervened.
Nine of the 24 crew members, all of Kiribati origin, were arrested after having been searched and found to be involved in the crime.
The vessel was allowed to continue from port on October 21 after the investigation had taken place. PTI recently reported another cocaine seizure aboard a container vessel by Mexican authorities.