Newspapers in Australia are reporting that a British cruise passenger aboard the P & O Aurora cruise ship was arrested for trying to smuggle 30 kilos of cocaine into Australia.
The British citizen is 59 years old and was busted by Australian customs officers last Friday at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Sydney. The customs officers used a sniffer dog. The accounts indicate that the passenger was hiding several packages inside a wet suit which he was wearing under his clothes. Another 25 packages of coke were concealed in three suitcases in his cabin.
Those of you who read Cruise Law News will remember that we reported on another major drug bust on the Aurora cruise ship when U.S. officials arrested an Australian man and two New Zealanders after it docked in San Francisco on January 25th. The three passengers were smuggling 13 kilos of cocaine.
That means that In the course of one month, passengers were busted for smuggling 43 kilos (around 95 lbs) on this one ship. The coke which must be worth up to $10,000,000 on the street.
Drug smuggling is a major problem on cruise ships. Last year a leading maritime source, Lloyd’s List, reported on the problem of drug smuggling on cruise ships. In an article entitled "Drug Crimes Linked to Cruiseships Soar 52%," Lloyd’s List stated:
"UK based Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) told Lloyd’s List there had also been a sharp increase in drug smuggling on cruise ships, which prompted it to issue a specific alert to cruise lines. SOCA said that despite its alert, cruise operators are down playing the problem and continue to rely on existing security measures to deal with the problem. The upsurge appears to be linked to professional drug gangs increasingly targeting cruise vessels. According to the law enforcement agencies, drug gangs have turned to cruise ships because drug enforcement agencies have worked hard to stifle smuggling routes using yachts, fishing boats, cargo vessels and aircraft. The gangs now see cruise ships as alternative vehicles for carrying drugs."