On 1st June, the Spanish navy acted upon a fresh intelligence report by Irish authorities and seized a consignment of hashish worth €220 million ($270 million) from a trawler named ODYSSEY 227 near the Canary Islands.
This is believed to be one of the biggest consignments of drugs with almost 22 tonnes of hashish to be seized in European waters in the recent past. According to authorities, the drugs originated in North Africa and were intended for European markets.
The vessel was intercepted by the Spanish navy about 90 nautical miles from the Canary Islands and the seizure was carried out and two onboard were arrested for further investigation.
The vessel was first flagged as suspicious by the Irish naval services which coordinated efforts with Garda and customs services to build a ‘profiling case’ after which the intelligence was passed onto the Portgual-based European Maritime Analysis Operations Centre – Narcotics (MAOC-N) which ultimately directed the Spanish navy to carry out the seizure.
Michael O’Sullivan, the head of MAOC said, “It was an operation driven by the Irish; between the Navy and then the Garda and Customs. And without that, would it have been highlighted and the drugs seized? Most unlikely.”
The trawler, Odyssey 227 is a registered fishing vessel and was believed to be occasionally carrying out drug consignments to European shores. The vessel was on the radar of intelligence authorities since 2019 but, all of a sudden, the vessel became inactive and could not be traced.
But due to the efforts of the Irish naval intelligence who kept monitoring the vessel’s activity through sophisticated satellite tracking from their headquarters in Haulbowline, the trawler was noticed and was ultimately tipped off.
Mr. O’Sullivan also shared that a multinational investigation headed by MAOC was underway, directed towards identifying the origins and sources of funding behind such large drug consignments.
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