Cruise ship operations are poised to resume in the United States, which will be welcomed by cruise lines and cruise-focused ports with open arms. But, unfortunately, smugglers are once again using legal cruise ship operations to pawn consignments, however meager, as drug trafficking into the United States. It might be that these shipments that make the route on container ships or semi-submersibles are not done on a large scale but large enough to demand strict surveillance.
On June 6, the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confiscated 32 kilograms of cocaine uncovered by security agents aboard a nameless cruise liner. When the ship arrived in Port Everglades, Florida, the crew turned over the narcotics last week.
Cruise authorities notified CBP investigators deployed to Port Everglades ahead of the vessel’s arrival. During the cruise ship’s maintenance visit at Port Everglades on June 6, CBP officials greeted the cruise ship, and its security crew embarked upon the pier. When the ship docked, the security squad revealed trash bags loaded with brick-shaped parcels that they had discovered in a vacant space while off the coast of Florida. The white powder material found in the blocks positively identified as cocaine.
The consignment would be worth approximately $1 million at a regular market price of $30,000 per kg.
A specialist CBP search squad conducted a comprehensive inspection while the cruise liner was in port, but no more narcotics were discovered.
This newest finding coincides with the introduction of a widespread Covid-19 vaccination drive that has now allowed cruise ships to explore the waters.
The CDC issued a No Sail Order in March, halting cruises in US waters. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) amended its standards last month, enabling cruise ship operators to begin simulated cruises with volunteered passengers.
MSC Cruises and Costa Cruise Lines in Europe, for example, have restarted the business in other regions of the world. Many cruise companies are planning to resume cruising in US waters by mid-summer, assuming they can fulfill CDC criteria.
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