A Greek-managed cargo ship has been held off the coast of Tenerife after Spanish authorities discovered the ship was transporting cocaine.
Over three tonnes (4,500 kg) of cocaine was discovered on the cargo ship. The drug haul is reportedly worth €180 million ($195 million).
Greece-based Dignatio Corp is listed as the managing company and operator of the ship, although no Greek sailors were found onboard.
Cargo ship busted transporting cocaine
On Thursday, agents from the Spanish customs vessel Flumar brought the seized cargo vessel to Tenerife. The operation involved members of the Spanish police, military, and civil authorities. It took more than five hours at Los Llanos dock.
The illicit cargo was unloaded via crane on Thursday evening. The Guardia Civil arrested 15 crew members operating the vessel.
When the Blume was intercepted, it was sailing with its Automatic Identification System (AIS) switched off. The last update on its activity was made on January, 17. The vessel had departed from the port of Santos, in Brazil, on 20 December and was supposedly headed for Riga, in Latvia.
The Blume was sailing with a declared cargo of 200 tonnes of coffee, ” well below the actual capacity of the ship,” said the Spanish Guardia Civil.
The Flumar, the vessel responsible for intercepting the Blume, is a 61-meter special operations ship. It has two fast boats stowed on either side of its hull which can be used to commence boarding actions of suspicious vessels.
Who does the drug vessel belong to?
The cargo ship caught carrying cocaine belongs to Rentoor Chartering and is managed by the Greek-based company Dignatio Corp, according to listings on Equasis. The ship was sailing under the flag of Togo when it was intercepted.
The Blume is Dignatio Corp’s only ship. Neither company has publicly responded to the seizure of their vessel.
On Marine Traffic, the Blume is listed as a general cargo ship with a carrying capacity of 4325 tonnes DWT. According to the maritime website, “her current draught is reported to be 4.2 meters. Her length overall (LOA) is 96.8 meters and her width is 14 meters.”
This is not the first time the Blume has aroused suspicion. It was detained twice in 2022, although drug trafficking was not suspected.
The first incident took place in Turkey. Inspectors found 45 deficiencies with the cargo ship. These included a missing oil record book and flag state endorsement certificate, expired firefighting equipment, and faults with the oil filtering equipment.
It was detained a second time in Russia in July. Russian inspectors found 25 faults but the only cause for detention was to do with the vessel’s lifeboats.