UK authorities have announced the seizure of what they described as one of the largest ever shipments of heroin intercepted. The interception was at the port of Felixstowe aboard container ship Maersk Sembawang , which was bound for Antwerp, Belgium. The shipment consisted of more than a ton for what was termed Class A narcotics. The National Crime Agency (NCA), acting on information, was tracking a suspected shipment of drugs in a container.
The container was aboard the 6,500 teu Maersk Sembawang (IMO 9315226).
As part of a multi-national effort the UK authorities ordered the container removed from the ship when it arrived in Felixstowe. It was moved to a secure terminal where a search revealed more than 1,196 kg of heroin and morphine derivatives hidden in bags of rice.
Nikki Holland, NCA Director of Investigations, said that “this is a huge seizure which has denied organized criminals tens of millions of pounds in profits, and is the result of a targeted, intelligence-led investigation, carried out by the NCA with international and UK partners”.
The container was returned to the Maersk Sembawang, which then sailed on to Antwerp. Under surveillance by Dutch and Belgian law enforcement agencies, the container was loaded on to a truck and driven to a warehouse south of The Hague in the Netherlands. Once the suspects began to unload the container, law enforcement arrested the driver of the truck, along with two people who were unloading the container. Simultaneously in the UK they arrested the suspected UK facilitator in the crime ring.
As of September 24th it was en route from Tanger to Valencia, rounding the Rock of Gibraltar.
2007-built, Singapore-flagged, 79,702 gt Maersk Sembawang Is owned by Moller Singapore AP Pte of Singapore. It is managed by Maersk AS of Copenhagen, Denmark. ISM manager is Anglo-Eastern Ship Management of Hong Kong, China. It is entered with Britannia on behalf of Maersk AS.