Drug smugglers pretending to be cruise passengers arrested in Brazil

Brazilian law enforcement agencies have arrested six people in the port of Santos, Brazil. The five Brazilian nationals, plus one Argentine, had 30kg of cocaine in their luggage. They were arrested when they were about to board the Costa Diadema (IMO 9636888) on a transatlantic cruise to Europe.

Brazil’s Policia Federal said that the vessel was about to embark upon an 18-night transatlantic cruise, with stops in Tenerife, Barcelona, and Cadiz in Spain, and then finally calling at Savona in Italy.

It was not clear whether the passengers were planning to take the drugs to Spain or Italy.

Police sniffer dogs discovered the cocaine. Police found 1.74kg of cocaine strapped to the waist of a man and the rest of the cocaine tucked away in hidden compartments in the luggage.

On April 10th, 10 passengers had been arrested when the MSC Seaside arrived in Spain during its transatlantic cruise from Brazil. They were found to have 54 kilos of cocaine.

Smugglers have a limited time window for this strategy, limited to the March/April period when the major cruise lines reposition their vessels from near to South America for summer season cruises in the Mediterranean.

2014-built, Italy-flagged, 133,019 gt Costa Diadema is owned and managed by Costa Crociere SpA of Genoa, Italy. ISM manager is Carnival Maritime GmbH.

2017-built, Malta-flagged, 153,516 gt MSC Seaside is owned by CNS Compania Naviera Seaside 1 care of manager MSC Crociere SpA of Naples, Italy. ISM manager is MSC Cruise Management UK Ltd of Uxbridge, UK. It is entered with Steamship Mutual.