Dutch search for bulk carrier Trudy finds 529 extra kilos of cocaine
Dutch authorities have reported finding additional narcotics hidden aboard a Liberian-registered bulk carrier that was at the center of a previous bust-and-commando-type raid in France in early October. The latest discovery comes as Dutch and international authorities report a growing number of shipboard bans.
The story of the unfortunate 30,790 dwt bulk carrier Trudy emerged in early October when French authorities celebrated a record seizure over a ton of cocaine. In collaboration with international law enforcement, France captured the bulk carrier when it entered the English Channel and took it to the port of Dunkirk on October 1. A search of the ship revealed 40 large cases containing a white powder which was later confirmed to be cocaine. The crew were detained but the vessel was released pending the arrival of a replacement crew.
Before the bulk carrier could leave France, it was stormed by a group of about 10 armed intruders. The replacement crew aboard the Trudy was taken prisoner while the ship’s captain was forced to escort the gang as they searched the ship. Local police reported that the gang had acted threateningly towards the replacement crew, but left the ship after about four hours.
The Trudy sailed for Antwerp on the assumption that the incident was over. However, early last week, when the vessel docked in Rotterdam, Dutch authorities again carried out their standard vessel search. During this sweep of the Trudy, they reported finding 29 other large crates each containing about 10 packages of about a kilo each. They also discovered a block weighing nine kilos and 46 smaller packages. A total of 529 additional kilograms of cocaine were removed from the Trudy. The estimated value of the latest seizure was over $ 46 million.
Dutch authorities have shown the additional cocaine they found on board the Trudy last week (Prosecutor’s Office)
The discovery on board the bulk carrier was just one of three reported in the port of Rotterdam over the past week. On Thursday, a ship arriving from Curaçao was carrying 930 kilograms of cocaine hidden in a container loaded with used cooking oil. At the end of the week, the Dutch reported one of their largest seizures, finding 4,178 kilograms of cocaine in two containers full of bags of soybeans from Paraguay. The containers had been transhipped in Uruguay.
Panamanian authorities also reported the largest cocaine seizure ever, 3,500 kilograms. It was discovered when inspectors boarded a ship from Chile bound for the Netherlands. They reported finding customs seals on containers that appeared to have been forged to inform them of the smuggling. At the same time in Colombia, inspectors found 2,279 kilograms of cocaine also destined for the port of Rotterdam. Again, officers inspecting an unnamed vessel noticed issues with the customs seal on a refrigerated container. It contained 29 duffel bags containing cocaine worth over $ 100 million.
The Dutch prosecution said the seizures were part of an ongoing collaboration with customs, port police and their office as well as international law enforcement.