More than 200kg of cocaine seized from cargo ship in Port of Melbourne

More than 200 kilograms of cocaine hidden in the hull of a cargo ship has been seized in Melbourne.

The cocaine — worth about $80 million — was found after Australian Border Force officers used an underwater remotely operated vehicle to search the vessel when it was docked in the Port of Melbourne last month.

It was hidden in a suspicious hull attachment in the ship’s sea chest, which contains pipes used to pump sea water.

Specialist divers from Victoria Police were called in to retrieve the illicit drug packages.

The ship had sailed to Melbourne from Argentina via New Zealand and then continued on to Western Australia and South Australia.

AFP Commander Richard Chin said authorities were trying to identify those responsible for the attempted import.

“The focus of our ongoing investigation remains on identifying and locating the transnational serious organised crime groups responsible for this attempted import, and the people working for them in Australia to receive and distribute these drugs,” he said.

“It could be something small from an unusual boat purchase paid in cash, through to suspicious activity at one of our ports.

“Every piece of information reported to law enforcement can help put together the picture to help us find those responsible.”


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