Posted on February 04, 2019 by Ilias Kiritsis
Police in Cape Verde confiscated 9.5 tons of cocaine that were discovered onboard the Panama-flagged general cargo ship, ESER on January the 31st.
The ESER had originally sailed from Colon, Panama on January the 4th and was bound for Tangier, Morocco, but was forced to make an emergency stop at Praia, Cape Verde, after a crewmember died aboard the ship.
By the time the vessel had docked at Praia, local police had already been made aware of the cocaine onboard the ship, having been briefed in advance by the EU’s Maritime Analysis and Operation Centre-Narcotics.
Local police then proceeded to arrest the ESER crew, all 11 of which are Russian nationals, charging them with drug smuggling.
Reportedly, the street value of the 260 bags of cocaine found onboard the vessel is estimated at $1.5 Billion.
The Russian Embassy in Cape Verde has been in contact with the detainees and the investigating authorities and is awaiting further information.
Currently, the crew of the ESER are in the prison of Saint-Martins, located in the city of Praia.
The seafarers have been provided with legal assistance and are being supported by an interpreter.
Should the crew be found guilty, they are looking at a considerable prison sentence.
The vessel is currently anchored at the Praia port.