The Irish Army Ranger Wing has discovered a haul of cocaine weighing approximately 2,235 kilogrammes onboard the MV Matthew off the Cork Coast of Ireland.
According to The Irish Times, the MV Matthew vessel was arriving from Panama in South America, where it had left on 18 August.
Paul Reynolds, Crime Correspondent at Radio Telefis Eireann (RTÉ), stated that the “military and garda personnel boarded the ship with guns” and “had to fire warning shots” on 26 September after the merchant ship failed to comply with the instructions from the military.
The cocaine on the vessel was estimated to be worth €157 million ($165 million).
This is not the first time cocaine has been found on a containership in Europe this year. In January, an MSC containership revealed to have smuggled significant amounts of cocaine while participating in a fake bomb threat inquiry outside the Port of Antwerp in Belgium.
Eight months later, on 8 August, Dutch Customs agents in the Netherlands seized the largest haul of cocaine to ever go through the Port of Rotterdam weighing up to 17,600 pounds, after traversing through Panama from Ecuador.
The Irish Examiner reported that the cargo ship had been under the surveillance of Irish law enforcement agents in late September as part of an international operation that has been tracking it for several weeks.
Justin Kelly, Assistant Commissioner Organised & Serious Crime at the Garda Síochána, commented on the matter during a Gardaí news conference held on 27 September.
Kelly said: “This is the largest drug seizure in the history of the State (Republic of Ireland). This is a hugely significant operation, and it shows our unrelenting determination to disrupt and dismantle networks which are determined to bring drugs into our country.”
The Independent reported that eight men were arrested in connection with the drug operation, with one being released without charge on 1 October.
On 29 September, Hong Kong Customs discovered two large-scale unlawful cigarette smuggling instances at the Kwai Chung Customhouse Cargo Examination Compound, with an estimated market value of $54 million.