Marinha Portuguesa
Image: Marinha Portuguesa (Portuguese Navy)

Suspected ‘narco-launch’ apprehended 93 kms off Faro coast

Undocumented crew “could not prove launch registration”

The crackdown by authorities on traffickers using Portugal as a point of entry for drugs from north Africa continues this week with a suspected ‘narco launch’ being apprehended by the Navy 93 kms south of Faro.

According to information released, “the Lisbon Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Centre received information that a boat was adrift, with two people on board, 50 nautical miles, equivalent to around 93 kilometres, south of Faro.

“On arrival at the scene, it was found that two individuals were on board, of Spanish nationality, aged 26 and 27, undocumented, with no need for medical support, with the suspicion that the vessel may be associated with drug trafficking activity. The Navy transported the boat and crew to the Faro Maritime Police Local Command for their identification.

“The vessel remains in the custody of Maritime Police as it was not possible to prove the registration of the crew members,” said the statement.

The apprehension involved the NRP Cassiopeia and “two high-speed vessels, one from «Faro Maritime Police Local Command and the other from the Navy, operated by Marines”.

Although the action was part of a “priority maritime search and rescue mission”, the statement added that the Maritime Authority and the Navy “continue to carry out missions to combat drug trafficking in the Algarve, having arrested 63 people since the beginning of the year and seized 27 high-speed boats with around 30 tonnes of narcotics”.

Source material: LUSA