Please select your home edition
Edition
Protector 728x90

$370 million yacht drug haul spells difficulties for cruising sailors

by Des Ryan on 24 Aug 2013
Raj looking peaceful SW
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

PredictWind.com 2014Naiad/Oracle SupplierZhik AkzoNobelb 660x82

Related Articles

High water on the great lakes – Boom or bust for boaters?
Boaters can find that deeper water under the keel may open a range of cruising, fishing or sailing grounds to navigation With Great Lakes water levels on the rise and expected to continue to increase into summer, recreational boaters could find that deeper water under the keel may open a whole new range of cruising, fishing or sailing grounds to navigation.
Posted on 19 May
BoatUS 2017 top 10 list of boat names and their meanings
BoatUS, issued its 2017 Top Ten Boat Names list today, a tradition dating back a quarter decade. The nation’s largest recreational boating advocacy, services and safety group, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), issued its 2017 Top Ten Boat Names list today, a tradition dating back a quarter decade. The names come from tallying up requests for boat names to the BoatUS Graphics service, and each reveal much about the personality of the vessel’s owner.
Posted on 18 May
Brian McGinnis takes Mid-Atlantic Regional Sunfish Championship
Old Point Comfort Yacht Club hosted a multi-state field for the first 2017 Mid-Atlantic Regional Sunfish Championship. Old Point Comfort Yacht Club hosted a multi-state field for the first 2017 Mid-Atlantic Regional Sunfish Championship. The race was a qualifier for the 2018 Sunfish Worlds. Winds for the weekend tended toward 20 knots or more for Saturday where only four of the nine boats entered finished the five races run on Saturday.
Posted on 9 May
North Technology buys Hall Spars from receivership
North Technology Group (NTG) has announced the acquisition of the Hall Spars business out of receivership. North Technology Group (NTG) has announced the acquisition of the Hall Spars business out of receivership. The Hall Spars US parent company announced in early 2017 that it would be closing the doors due to well publicized financial challenges. The acquisition covers Auckland and Brekens and Hall Spars will re-establish in Rhode Island
Posted on 9 May
Coast Guard finds Aids-to-Navigation shot and sunk near Block Island
Crew of Coast Guard Cutter Ida Lewis discovered a buoy sunk in water with bullet holes, near Block Island, Rhode Island. The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Ida Lewis discovered a buoy sunk in the water with bullet holes, Monday, near Block Island, Rhode Island. The crew was conducting regular aids-to-navigation maintenance when they approached Clay Head buoy number 7 and found it submerged. The crew raised the 12,000-pound buoy and found 20 bullet holes in it.
Posted on 28 Apr
A Few Rays - When you think of sunscreen as a filter....
If a sunscreen is a filter of UV rays, how much is enough? If a sunscreen is a filter of UV rays, how much is enough? Where the skin is exposed and a sunscreen is working for you, it is filtering UV rays. Some of those rays always get through. The percentage of the high energy UVB rays (said to cause sunburn) that get through to cells in the skin can be determined by the claimed SPF of the product you are using.
Posted on 25 Apr
Boat International partners with NZ Millennium Cup 2018
Boat International partners with NZ Millennium Cup 2018 to celebrate superyacht regatta’s tenth anniversary Boat International Media, the global authority on superyachts and the luxury lifestyle that goes with them, has today announced that it will be partnering with the NZ Millennium Cup superyacht regatta, to be held in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands in January 2018.
Posted on 22 Apr
A Few Rays - What is Broad Spectrum Protection?
What is Broad Spectrum sunscreen? Ultraviolet rays only make up a small proportion of all of the sun’s rays. What is Broad Spectrum sunscreen? Ultraviolet rays (UVA, UVB and UVC) only make up a small proportion of all of the sun’s rays. UVA and UVB sun-rays are however the biggest contributors to skin damage from sun.
Posted on 19 Apr
Coast Guard urges boating safety common sense
Coast Guard reminds mariners that as the air temperature is warming the water temperatures are still dangerously cold The Coast Guard is reminding mariners Friday that as the air temperature is warming the water temperatures are still dangerously cold. With the rise in air temperature, the number of boaters, paddle craft users, and water enthusiasts taking to water activities also rises.
Posted on 15 Apr
A very difficult day - Got fuel to Cape Town
Well after my dismasting I have spent the last two days motoring North towards Cape Town trying to collect myself Well after my dismasting I have spent the last two days motoring North towards Cape Town trying to collect myself and to intercept Hong Kong container ship M/V Far Eastern Mercury who had been diverted by Maritime Rescue Coordination Center Cape Town (MRCC Cape Town) when I had issued a Pan-Pan during my dismasting.
Posted on 8 Apr