The Capesize bulk carrier Anangel Destiny called into Saldanha Bay, Cape Town
on Thursday to hand police 155 kg of cocaine that crew had discovered during routine maintenance on a voyage from Brazil. "The vessel's crew were doing routine maintenance on July 23 -- they were changing the sea suction filters -- when they discovered the packages," the ship's chartering manager Colm Nolan, of London-based Agelef Shipping, said. He said that given the location of the packages, they had "undoubtedly been put in from under the hull", probably by scuba-divers. The ship had left Brazil with its 170,000 ton iron ore cargo on July 17. "The moment they discovered it, they reported it to the authorities," said Agelef Chief Financial Officer Dimitri Stylianou.
The Anangel Destiny diverted from its journey to China to offload the cocaine and to allow South African police the opportunity to search the vessel and interview the crew. Nolan said that the crew were never regarded as suspects by the South African authorities, who had thanked them for their cooperation.
The ship left Saldanha Bay on Thursday and is now underway to China to complete its voyage and unload its cargo at a Chinese steel plant.
The discovery follows hot on the heels of the July 21 discovery of 199 kg of cocaine on the tanker Aramis calling in San Fransisco on a voyage from Ecuador. One of the Aramis crew was indicted last Friday on four counts of importing cocaine with intent to distribute. - (Reuters)