The federal police in Australia report that its law enforcement officers and the Australia border protection agency seized thirty (30) kilos of cocaine stashed aboard an unidentified cruise ship which docked in Sydney on November 30, 2017. Four passengers were arrested on the ship and escorted from the cruise ship – a 41-year-old Belgian woman and three French nationals, including a 61-year-old man, a 54-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman.
The Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force released a multimedia news release titled No Sooth Sailing for International Cocaine Syndicate, with photographs of the drugs and the suspects. The release did not identify the name of the cruise line or cruise ship.
The cruise ship originated in the United Kingdom. The arrests took place after a joint operation between the Australian Border Force and their counterparts in United Kingdom.
The Australian authorities have been successful making drug busts on cruise ships entering the ports in Sydney. Last year, authorities seized 95 kilos of cocaine that three passengers smuggled on a Princess cruise ship (the Sea Princess). The question arises whether smuggling anywhere from 30 to 100 kilos of drugs aboard a cruise ship must involve help from crew members. Given the use of screening equipment on cruise ships, some people question whether the drugs were loaded onto the ship along with food and provisions and then transferred to the passengers to be smuggled off the ship in their luggage.
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Hat tip to Crew Center where I first learned of the drug bust.
Update: The cruise ship where the drug bust occured is the M/S Astor, operated by Cruise & Maritime Voyages, according to several individuals familiar with the cruise ports in Austrralia. The Astor was docked at the White Bay Cruise Terminal at the time of the drug sizure and arrests.
Photo credit: Australian Government (top and bottom); Bahnfrend – CC BY-SA 4.0, commons / wikimedia (M/S Astor).