Seized a fishing vessel on the high seas in the eastern Canary Islands with 15 tons of hashish on board
The four crew members of the Mongolian-flagged vessel ‘Odyssey 227’ were arrested and the drug, which was in the hold of the vessel, seized
The boarding was carried out by the Customs Surveillance patrol company ‘Sacre’ of the Tax Agency, within the framework of a joint operation of the three bodies.
In a joint operation of the Civil Guard, the Tax Agency and the National Police, in the early morning of today, within the framework of the ‘Durmitordos’ operation, a Mongolian-flagged fishing vessel that carried about 15 tons of hashish has intervened. The boarding of the ship, named 'Odyssey 227', has been carried out by the Customs Surveillance patrol boat 'Sacre' of the Tax Agency, based in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, about 30 miles east of Fuerteventura, in international waters. .
The fishing vessel was the subject of an investigation carried out by the Office of Maritime Investigation of Customs Surveillance in Galicia, the Civil Guard and the National Police.
The boarding, carried out after the request to the consular authorities of Mongolia in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations Vienna Convention against illicit drug trafficking, was carried out without encountering resistance from the fishing crew.
However, the poor state of the sea and the very nature of the operation created a situation of extreme difficulty when, during the assault, the Chief of the Dam Crew of the patrol boat 'Sacre' fell into the water. he could immediately be rescued by his companions, continuing with the mission.
On board the fishing vessel, the four crew members have been detained; the captain, of Italian nationality, and the chief engineer and sailors of Senegalese nationality.
The fishing vessel, along with the seized drugs and the four crew members, have been escorted to the port of Las Palmas, where they arrived at around five in the afternoon, local time.
The investigation has been coordinated by the CITCO (Intelligence Center against Terrorism and Organized Crime), leading to the exploitation phase yesterday, when the Maritime Intelligence Office for Customs Surveillance in the Canary Islands corroborated the initial hypothesis of the VA office in Galicia in relation to a suspicious navigation of the ship 'Odyssey' in waters near the Canary Islands.
Finally, the decision was made to put the patrol boat "Sacre" out to sea, due to strong indications that the fishing vessel was loaded with narcotic substances.
The Maritime Investigation Offices, created by the Tax Agency in all the Special Delegations with coast, are developing new investigation tools to counteract the increase in drug trafficking by sea, both hashish and cocaine, which has been detected in recent years. These offices analyze the traffic and routes of fishing and merchants in risk areas to detect possible illegal operations.
Modification of hash routes
In recent times there has been a significant change in the trafficking routes of hashish of Moroccan origin. The traditional route of the 'Eastern Mediterranean', with loads off the Mediterranean coast of Morocco and transfer of the narcotic substance presumably to Libya, has been significantly reduced, being replaced by a new route, the so-called 'Atlantic route of hashish', which It is characterized by loads of the narcotic substance off the Moroccan Atlantic coast and its transfer by boats with a presumable destination to Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone, Senegal, etc., where it would be stored for its subsequent transfer by land, crossing the continent African via the Sahel route, presumably bound for Libya and later entering the European continent.
The intelligence indicates that this new ‘Atlantic hashish route’ arises from being considered by the organizations a safer route than the old ‘Eastern Mediterranean’ route – where the Italian, French and Spanish authorities have carried out multiple seizures.