1.6 tonnes of cocaine seized from a Tanzania-flagged ship

A Tanzania-flagged ship was last week intercepted carrying 1.6 tonnes of cocaine in the Atlantic Ocean, the World Maritime News website reported.

According to the website, the suspected vessel was first spotted by an NH-90 helicopter, deployed with the Dutch naval vessel on Christmas Day and was seized the next day and escorted to Santo Domingo in Dominican Republic by the US Coast Guard.

“Following a thorough inspection, the officials located 1,600 kilos of cocaine hidden between the fuel tanks aboard the ship on December 31,” the report says.

“The vessel, together with the illegal cargo and its seafarers, was transferred to the relevant authorities in the Dominican Republic for further investigation,” it adds.

Countries targeted by UN sanctions like the DPRK and Iran have been flying the Tanzanian flag putting the East African country on the spot. Tanzania has also suffered diplomatic embarrassment after vessels it has flagged are used to ferry illicit drugs.

Efforts to get comments regarding the latest vessel seizure from the Tanzania Zanzibar International Register of Shipping (TZIRS) that is responsible for registering foreign ships proved futile, the Africa Review reports.

Officials from the ministry of Foreign Affairs were also not available for comment.

Tanzania was in 2017 forced to deregister 45 foreign vessels for breach of UN sanctions against North Korea.