'Drug-smugglers' chased by Irish Navy in fishing trawler
‘Drug-smugglers’ chased by Irish Navy in fishing trawler carrying up to ‘£100MILLION worth of cocaine’ run stricken vessel aground on beach in Ireland amid stormy weather – sparking major security operation
- The fishing trawler ran aground on a beach yesterday amid stormy conditions
A major security operation is underway in Ireland after a fishing trawler, suspected to be carrying large amounts of cocaine, ran aground on a beach amid stormy weather conditions.
Tonight the Defence Forces, gardaí and the Irish Coast Guard were seen searching the waters near to Wexford, with the garda drugs unit also being involved in the ‘live operation’.
The level of cooperation is said to be similar to those international vessels suspected of trafficking drugs worth tens of millions or up to £100million, the Irish Times reported.
The waters are now reportedly being monitored to see if any cargo – possibly large amounts of drugs – have been lost and cascaded into the sea.
The paper said a number of people saved from the water have since been arrested and questioned at Co Wexford Garda station.
Tonight the Defence Forces, gardaí and the Irish Coast Guard were seen searching the waters near to Wexford. Pictured: File photo of Garda boat previously
The large trawler is said to have got into trouble late last night near a sandbank off Blackwater, prompting an emergency response from the RNLI and a Coast Guard Rescue helicopter.
The helicopter, known as the Rescue 117, approached the scene of the vessel but were reportedly told to hold back as the boat was being tracked by the Irish Navy’s LÉ William Butler Yeats, the Irish Independent said.
The Navy ship was reportedly carrying members of the Garda National Drugs Squad on board.
When the RNLI eventually freed the trawler, rescuers were said to have been warned by the navy not to board or allow anyone free, the paper reported, with navy patrols arriving on board after 3am.
Two men were said to be taken from the trawler onto the deck of the Navy’s boat.
A RNLI spokesperson told the Irish Independent: ‘The trawler had run aground on the sandbank there and we just couldn’t get near them.
‘The weather conditions weren’t great and we couldn’t get the tow-lines over to them. … They were eventually winched off and onto the naval vessel. I’m not aware of anything that happened after that.
The trawler was being tracked by the Irish Navy’s LÉ William Butler Yeats, the Irish Independent said
‘We’d be unaware of any further circumstances. It’s our duty to go out and save lives. What people are doing or where they’re going to or from is none of our concern.’
The search continued into Monday as bad weather meant the vessel itself could not be checked.
On Monday evening, a spokeswoman said gardai were engaged in a ‘live operation’ while the Defence Forces described its response as ongoing.
The Irish Times reported that the boat had been docked in Co Cork at one point before travelling down the south coast, thought to be travelling towards Britain.
The Garda Síochána has no comment at this time.
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