Posted on September 05, 2019 by Ilias Kiritsis
British authorities have seized a record-breaking 1.3 tonnes of heroin from the Hong Kong-flagged Container Ship, MAERSK GIBRALTAR.
The seizure occurred on August the 30th as the vessel entered the UK port of Felixstowe.
The record-breaking haul was uncovered due to the efforts of the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA). They discovered the drugs, spread in several one-kilogram blocks, hidden in towels and bathrobes inside a container onboard the Maersk vessel.
The street value of the drugs is said to be approximately £27 million initially, and in excess of £120 million when sold at street level.
“This is a huge seizure – there is no other word for it given the quantities involved – which has kept dangerous drugs off the streets of the UK and mainland Europe. It speaks well of the effective work we do with our law enforcement partners at home and abroad and I’m extremely proud of all the officers involved.
“The smugglers had hidden the drugs within a cover load of towels, stitching the 1kg blocks of heroin inside some of the towels. In total it took my officers nearly six hours – working in the early hours of Saturday morning - to remove the drugs,” said Jenny Sharp, Border Force Assistant Director at Felixstowe in an NCA press statement.
Having removed the drugs from the vessel, the UK authorities then proceeded to return the container to the ship and continued to monitor its status as the vessel moved towards the Belgian port of Antwerp.
Having reached Belgium, the vessel docked at the port on September the 1st. The container was then moved to a warehouse in Rotterdam, where with the help of Dutch and Belgian law enforcement, four people were arrested in connection with drug trafficking.
Image Courtesy of Marine Traffic