The UK National Crime Agency has seized a cargo of cocaine concealed in the sea chest of a refrigerated cargo ship at the port of Sheerness, south-east England, the NCA announced on Saturday October 28th. It was said to be only the second time that British authorities have found and captured a cargo of cocaine that had been affixed to a ship’s hull below the waterline, although this was a relatively common concealment method in other countries.
The vessel arrived at Sheerness in mid-October on what was apparently a regular run from the small ports of Moin, Costa Rica and Zegla, Panama.
Working from information supplied by the NCA, a specialized dive team from the National Police Chiefs Council searched the ship’s hull, working in limited visibility in the waters of the Sheerness harbour. They found the cargo of drugs stuffed in the sea chest, behind the intake grate. It took five hours to remove the shipment from the cavity and get it to the surface.
A total of 137kg of cocaine was brought to the surface in four gym bags.