[Video] Ship's Drug Cargo Set Afire by Smugglers

Drug smugglers set their ship and its cargo of US$78M worth of hashish ablaze after Italian customs officials spotted the vessel.

By MarEx 2013-09-09 08:57:00

Italian Customs officers did a fly-over of a ship in the Mediterranean that was smuggling hashish estimated to be worth nearly US$80 million. However, the cargo's worth cannot be fully confirmed because the ship’s crew set the hash on fire and then jumped overboard. The crew of 9 was later captured by the Italian Coast Guard.

The Tanzanian-registered MV Gold Star burned for more than 24 hours before being extinguished. Firefighting boats and the residents of Malta seemed amused by the events, but the vessel was towed to the Sicilian port of Syracuse where the recused men were questioned before being officially arrested.

Italian authorities were tipped off that the ship was smuggling a huge shipment of drugs. They intercepted the Gold Star off the coast of Sicily after keeping tabs on it for several days. Several fast patrol boats were used in the raid and a search of the ship's hold revealed 30 tons of hashish which had been loaded in Turkey. Italian officials had to obtain permission from Tanzania where the ship is registered, before they could board it.