Atlantic Ocean cocaine bust: CANU questions owner of vessel


As investigations continued into the discovery of 1000 kilograms of cocaine in a Guyana-registered vessel in the Atlantic Ocean by Spanish authorities, the owner of the boat was questioned by local authorities.

Head of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU), James Singh said that the owner of the boat, “Mathieu” turned up at the drug enforcement unit headquarters with his lawyer.

“All I can say at this point is that CANU is continuing its investigations locally and thus far, the owner of the vessel is cooperating with our agents,” Singh said.

It has been reported that the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) had no records to show that the vessel actually docked at Georgetown before departing.

However, CANU is working along with its counterparts in Spain. Up to late Tuesday evening, the Spanish authorities were yet to institute charges against the four Guyanese and two Albanians who were onboard the vessel when it was intercepted.

It was reported that agents of Spain’s National Police and Customs Surveillance of the Tax Agency had seized some 1000 kilograms of cocaine off the vessel, in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean near Cape Verde.

Once the arrested persons were transferred to the Fulmar Tax Agency patrol boat, the towing and subsequent transfer of the fishing vessel began to the Port of Arrecife, the main port facility for Lanzarote, which is one of the Canary Islands off the coast of West Africa administered by Spain.

The vessel in question is registered in the port of Georgetown and was sailing without a flag at the time of the interception.

The operation was carried out jointly with the Portuguese Judicial Police in collaboration with the Spanish Navy and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) of the United States, which warned of the existence of an international criminal organisation that intended to transfer a large amount of cocaine from one ship to another on the high seas.