Posted on September 12, 2019 by Ilias Kiritsis
The Lille Criminal Court sentenced nine Ukrainian seafarers to a substantial prison term and a joint fine of over €75 million over their involvement in drug trafficking.
The case involved the Moldovan-flagged General Cargo vessel, CARIB PALM. Back in December 10th, 2015, French authorities intercepted the Carib Palm off Boulogne-Sur-Mer and brought it to port.
The vessel was en route from the Dominican Republic to Poland, but had allegedly stopped for repairs in Cartagena, Colombia.
The French Coast Guard found the ballast level suspicious, given that the vessel was not supposed to be carrying any cargo.
Upon further investigation, they discovered that the vessel had been carrying over 2.3 tons of cocaine at 75% purity. The cocaine had an estimated purchase price of €75 million, which would have risen to €360 million when sold to the European market.
When questioned, the crew revealed that they had been acting under the Master’s orders when loading the contraband cargo into the vessel.
The investigation revealed that they were recruited by a non-existant crewing agency, registered in the Marshall Islands under a fake name.
The French Courts sentenced the crewmen to prison terms ranging from 5 to 8 years and a combined prison fine of €75 million.