A large haul of cocaine that had been hidden in the hull of a cargo ship has been seized in Melbourne. The 20kg-plus load was found after Australian Border Force officers used an underwater remotely operated vehicle to search the vessel when it was docked in the Port of Melbourne last month, after it had travelled from Argentina via New Zealand.
Officers using the ROV identified a suspicious hull attachment in the ship’s sea chest, an area of the vessel that contains pipes used to pump sea water into and out of the ballast tanks. Specialist divers from Victoria Police Search and Rescue Squad retrieved packages of cocaine from inside the sea chest which were then seized by the AFP.
The unnamed ship, with its crew, was permitted to continue its journey after it was searched. It travelled from Victoria across to Western Australia, and then back to South Australia.