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Ship sealed off by armed gardaí at Foynes Port as major cocaine seizure made

The shipment is understood to be on board a bulk carrier that arrived in the port yesterday.

LAST UPDATE | 20 Dec 2023

GARDAÍ AND REVENUE have seized €21 million worth of cocaine after uncovering a major shipment of drugs on board a Maltese-registered vessel at Foynes Port in Co Limerick.

Gardaí and the Revenue Customs Service made the discovery last night and remain at the scene, where the operation is being led by the customs service’s investigators.

The shipment – believed to be about 300kg of cocaine worth more than €20 million – is understood to be on board a bulk carrier that arrived in the port yesterday having travelled from West Africa.

The Journal understands that bales of drugs with with trackers were attached to life jackets were found, leading to suspicions that the jackets were going to be thrown overboard for collection by others. 

It’s believed that the ship was expected to sail to Waterford after Foynes and that the intention may have been to unload the bales after leaving the Limerick port.

Garda detectives and armed units sealed off the ship last night ahead of a full search which is taking place this morning.

A Garda spokesperson said that no arrests have been made and that investigations are ongoing.

The ship was detained as a result of an intelligence-led investigation. 

The scale of the shipment was unclear last night, but one source described the haul as “significant”. 

The development comes in the wake of the seizure of €160 million worth of cocaine aboard the MV Matthew earlier this year.

Mairead Maguire and Niall O'Connor
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