On 15th April 2015 a yacht carrying more than two tonnes of cocaine to Europe was seized in the Eastern Caribbean. Coincidentally, the seizure took place during a scoping visit to the region by SEACOP experts to plan capacity building against maritime trafficking under Phase III of SEACOP.
The Sailing yacht “SILANDRA” was intercepted by French Customs and Coastguard assets in the Atlantic about 200 kms off Martinique and was heading towards Europe. The three crew members, two Spanish and one Venezuelan, were arrested and are now in custody on Martinique. The boat was stuffed with 80 bales of cocaine weighing a total of 2.2 tonnes. The estimated value of the drugs is over 70 million euros, and is believed to be the biggest ever seizure of cocaine on a sailing yacht.
The seizure was the result of close cooperation between the UK National Crime Agency and the authorities of France, Spain and Grenada.
The seizure demonstrates the importance of the Eastern Caribbean in tackling trans-Atlantic maritime cocaine trafficking to Europe, as well as the importance of international cooperation.