Ten cruise ship Passengers arrested in Valencia for cocaine smuggling

When the cruise ship MSC Seaside (IMO 9745366) made its maiden call in Valencia, Spain in April, 10 of its passengers were intercepted by Spain’s national law-enforcement agency the Guardia Civil.

The force conducted a check of passenger luggage from the MSC Seaside and a drug-dog alerted to a set of suitcases. On examination, 15 pieces of luggage were found to contain cocaine, secretly stashed in false-bottom compartments. The total haul came to 54 kilos. The Guardia Civil’s Office of Analysis and Investigation (ODAIFI) arrested 10 passengers in connection with seizure, including four men and six women. The cocaine was all found in the women’s luggage. All were Brazilian nationals, aged between 23 and 50, and they had boarded the Seaside in pairs. According to ODAIFI, the detainees had ties to not one but two different organized-crime groups. It is not known whether they were all cooperating, or whether the two teams happened to be conducting two separate smuggling operations on the same ship at the same time. According to local media, one group of smugglers was heading for Madrid, while the other was travelling to Lisbon.

Santos, Brazil, from where the ship had travelled, is known as a hub for the smuggling of Bolivian cocaine.

2017-built, Malta-flagged, 153,516 gt MSC Seaside is owned by CNS Compania Naviera Seaside 1 care of MSC Crociere SpA of Naples, Italy. ISM manager is MSC Cruise Management UK of Uxbridge, UK. It is entered with Steamship Mutual (European syndicate) on behalf of CNS Compania Naviera Seaside 1 SA. As of May 17th it was en route from Palermo. Italy, to Ibiza, Spain, ETA May 18th.