Please select your home edition
Edition
Barz Optics - Floaters

$370 million yacht drug haul spells difficulties for cruising sailors

by Des Ryan on 24 Aug 2013
Raj looking peaceful .. .
The sad thing for sailors about the $370 million worth of cocaine which has been intercepted on a yacht in Vanuatu is that it is bound to make the way more difficult for long range cruising sailors as they make their way from country to country. The drug traffickers thought they had found the perfect way to slip their cargo - aboard one of the fleet of little-noticed sailing boats that move like migrating birds around the world.

The multi-agency law enforcement operation across the South Pacific has resulted in the seizure of approximately 750 kilograms of cocaine in Vanuatu. This is likely to make checks more stringent on the hundreds of innocent cruising boats in the Pacific.

Since 2010, the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) and United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have collaborated with South Pacific nations to investigate organised crime syndicates using yachts and similar vessels travelling through the region with cocaine shipments bound for Australia.

Project Cringle was established as a long-term AFP, ACBPS and DEA project targeting criminal organisations using the South Pacific as a transit point and staging area for their activities.

In July 2013, the AFP, ACBPS and the DEA commenced Operation Basco as a result of intelligence gathered in Project Cringle. This joint investigation targeted a yacht known as the Raj docked in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

The assistance of the Vanuatu Police Force was sought to seize and search the 'Raj'. Concealment experts from ACBPS and agents from the AFP and DEA travelled to Vanuatu on Monday to assist in the extensive examination.

Officers discovered an estimated 750 kilograms of cocaine hidden in the lower engine compartments and around the keel area of the hull.

It is estimated this consignment would be worth approximately $370 million, and has presented in excess of 750,000 individual deals from reaching Australian streets.

US Drug Enforcement Administration Senior Attache David Cali said this joint operation sent a strong message to organised crime groups seeking to operate in the South Pacific.

'This seizure is another fine example of the successes achieved when international law enforcement collaborates to rid our societies of the evils of drugs,' Attache Cali said.

'Organised crime syndicates should know that we are prepared, willing and able to combine our skills, resources and efforts to target them.'

The efforts of all agencies involved in Project Cringle, along with authorities in Tonga, the Cook Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia have resulted in almost two tonnes of cocaine destined for Australia being seized from five vessels since 2010.

.........................

Letter from Sail-World Correspondent:

Hi Nancy, reading your latest newsletter today I noticed a piece on the seizure of drugs in Vanuatu. The Pacific Circuit Rally fleet was in Vila at the time of the bust.
Timing however is subjective. ICA has long worked with Customs agencies around the Pacific and in two recent cases (there has been over 10 tons of drugs seized on yachts in the last five years) tip from cruisers have helped the authorities to nail the culprits.

It can be as simple as a tip about a suspicion, then step back and let the good guy’s take over. In the case of the recent bust, which is related to the last large haul on the vessel Friday Freedom, the Customs, DEA and Australian Federal Police have been working towards this for nearly two and a half years.

If all cruisers kept their eyes open and passed that information on perhaps the drug lords will find another means of transport.

As to these busts causing problems for cruisers, we haven’t noticed any increase in difficulty or a sense of suspicion but perhaps that’s because we enter and clear most countries as part of a rally.
Cheers

John & Lyn Martin
Directors
Island Cruising Assoc.
www.islandcruising.co.nz
john@islandcruising.co.nz

upffront 660x82Barz Optics - Melanin LensesSouthern Spars - 100

Related Articles

Olympic Gold medalist and Volvo Ocean Race winner up for WS Board
Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing in November. The five times Olympic medalist, Volvo Ocean Race winner and several times America's Cup competitor will bring a much needed sailing edge to the Board of World Sailing if he can navigate the politics of the controlling body of the sport.
Posted today at 6:03 pm
D-Marin Farr 40 Zadar Regatta – Overall report
Enfant Terrible and Plenty have been doing battle on the Farr 40 International Circuit for several years now. Enfant Terrible and Plenty have been doing battle on the Farr 40 International Circuit for several years now. Those two top-notch programs have resumed their rivalry this week in the waters off this historic city along the Dalmatian coast.
Posted on 23 Sep
Impressive tow-in freestyle show on the water in Cold Hawaii
The second day of the netIP Cold Hawaii PWA World Cup proved to be yet another lay day for the main competitio The second day of the netIP Cold Hawaii PWA World Cup proved to be yet another lay day for the main competition as expected with light winds and small waves.
Posted on 21 Sep
Brookes and Gatehouse Videos with Knut Frostad
Navico, the parent company for Brookes and Gatehouse (B&G), Simrad and Lowrance have prepared some terrific videos Navico, the parent company for Brookes and Gatehouse (B&G), Simrad and Lowrance have prepared some terrific videos with Knut Frostad, the legendary Volvo Ocean Race sailor and former CEO. See him talk about sailing in general, the B&G product choices and placement he made for his own boat, and then why he loves his Outremer 5X.
Posted on 8 Sep
Soft Padeyes – light, strong and versatile
Several types of soft padeyes are now available and are proving increasingly popular over traditional stainless steel pa Several types of soft padeyes are now available on the market and are proving increasingly popular over traditional stainless steel padeyes. They all capitalise on the incredible strength to weight ratio and abrasion resistance of Dyneema® which offers a reliable, robust, flexible and safe termination.
Posted on 6 Sep
The hurricanes headed for Hawaii and Florida
The National Weather Service has upgraded a tropical storm headed for Florida to hurricane status. The National Weather Service has upgraded a tropical storm headed for Florida to hurricane status. The first of two hurricanes headed toward Hawaii lost strength and was downgraded to a tropical storm. Meanwhile, in Florida, a tropical storm gained in strength and is now designated as a hurricane.
Posted on 4 Sep
Zhik sailors win 17 sailing medals at 2016 Olympic Regatta
The 2016 Olympic games are over and what a Games they have been - Zhik sailors dominated Zhik sailors won almost 60% of the medals contested at Rio de Janeiro. It was a regatta which tested sailors and gear - with one day being the most severe conditions ever experienced at an Olympic regatta. For the Zhik team riders on the waters of Rio, four years and more of hard work and dedication have paid off for many.
Posted on 29 Aug
Kids Polarised Sunglasses from Barz Optics
Barz Optics have developed a quality range of junior polarised sunglasses ideal for sailing and fishing. Barz Optics have developed a quality range of junior polarised sunglasses ideal for sailing and fishing. Each pair are supplied with a neoprene case and sunglass retainer.
Posted on 4 Aug
Reducing weight aloft with composite backstays
Reducing weight aloft is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing your boat speed and performance. Reducing weight aloft is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing your boat speed and performance. Every kilogram you take out of the rig is roughly equivalent to 4kg added to the bottom of your keel!
Posted on 26 Jul
Free $US3,000 Carbon Vang with SouthernFurl boom orders in July
Southern Spars is giving a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July Southern Spars is giving away a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with all of their SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July. Carbon gas vangs make a great addition to the furling boom package, though if you’d prefer to keep your existing one, Southern Spars will offer you a 5% discount on the price of your boom instead.
Posted on 29 Jun