The case of bulker Trudy (IMO 9415246), which was intercepted and boarded by French police on October 1st, has moved to a new level of near-surrealism, with the news that the vessel was subsequently boarded by 10 armed raiders who took the replacement crew captive.
The Trudy was intercepted and boarded by French police off Dunkirk on October 1, having arrived from Brazil. The vessel was diverted to the port for a thorough search, during which officials found and removed more than one ton of cocaine that had been concealed on board. It was the biggest cocaine seizure in French waters since 2018. A customs official hailed it as “emblematic of the daily mobilization of customs in the fight against drugs.”
Nineteen members of the Trudy crew were arrested on suspicion of smuggling. The vessel itself was detained and moored alongside at Dunkirk’s west bulk cargo terminal. A replacement crew was brought in to care for the ship while the inquiry continued.
That, normally, would be that.
However, early on Monday October 11th, at about 01:00, some 10 armed intruders boarded the vessel and took the replacement crew captive. The leaders of the band of intruders spoke English and were reported to have been “violent and threatening” in their manner, according to local police. They searched the vessel, “accompanied by the captain,” but did not appear to take anything. They departed empty-handed at about 05:00 hours. No serious injuries were reported.
The port’s security forces did not intercept the intruders and no arrests have been made. A police source told local newspaper Ouest France that the “the likely goal was to recover drugs and money”.
France’s National Jurisdiction Against Organized Crime (Junalco) said that it was treating the boarding as a “kidnapping and forcible confinement by an organized gang,” National anti-narcotics office OFAST will lead the inquiry.
2009-built, Liberia-flagged, 19,814 gt Trudy is owned by Trudy GmbH & Co KG care of MINSHIP Shipmanagement of Schnaittenbach, Germany. ISM manager is Columbia Shipmanagement of Hamburg, Germany. It is entered with North of England Club on behalf of Noord Nederlandsche P&I Club.