Drug-Running Ship to be Auctioned Off
The Congolese-flagged bulker Just Reema is being auctioned off by port authorities in Malaga, one year after she was detained in connection with the seizure of nearly 15 metric tons of hashish.
The Guardia Civil and customs authorities intercepted the Reema in international waters in June of last year on suspicion that some of her crew were involved in a drug-running ring. On boarding at sea, the search party found only 1,500 tons of salt, but the Reema was brought into port and subjected to a more thorough investigation – revealing a double bottom containing 15 tonnes of drugs, worth an estimated $27 million. Her nine crew members – six Syrians and three Indian nationals – were arrested; they have been convicted and sentenced to six years in prizon.
The vessel is said to have been part of a North Africa-to-Europe "Eastern Mediterranean Route." Over the past three years, EU member states have intercepted over two dozen vessels on the route – craft of all types, from yachts to fishing boats to merchant ships – carrying a combined 30 tonnes of hashish (the Just Reema's cargo making up about half of this volume on its own).
The Port Authority of Malaga has set a starting price of $450,000 for the 1978-built 2,500 dwt bulker. If she is not immediately sold, the authority plans a series of discount rounds – and if she is still not sold, then she may be scrapped.
VesselsValue.com advises that the Reema has only a demolition value of $270,000.