Italian authorities have found 20 tons of hashish after intercepting a Panama-flagged research ship, the country’s law enforcement agency said.
On 9 August, Italian police units intercepted research ship Remus in the Mediterranean Sea. The ship was taken to Palermo in Sicily for further investigation, according to Guardia di Finanza.
Following the investigation, the authorities discovered 20,140 kilograms of hashish hidden in the ship’s fuel tanks.
The entire Remus crew of eleven has been arrested. All of them are nationals of Montenegro, the authorities informed.
The hashish, worth between EUR 150 million and 200 million, was probably destined for the European market.
At the time of the interception, the research ship was en route from Las Palmas, Spain, to Tuzla, Turkey, via Alexandria, Egypt. Prior to the interception, Remus had been repeatedly turning off its AIS system while sailing close to the North African coast to conceal its position. After the authorities had analyzed its route, the ship became suspicious.
The most recent action is part of the operation called Libeccio International in which Guardia di Finanza plays the role of sea police, preventing drug trafficking and protecting international waters.