Drugs seized from a container on board Maersk Inverness in Port Botany. Photo courtesy Australian Federal Police

Cocaine Seized from Container Carried By Maersk Ship in Australia

Mike Schuler
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August 8, 2022

Australian police have seized cocaine worth more than $195 million from a container transported by a Maersk ship in Sydney’s Port Botany.

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers discovered the drugs on July 22 during an inspection of shipping containers on M/V Maersk Inverness, which had docked a day earlier. The haul—some 700 kilograms in total—was found packaged in denim bags inside a shipping container described as containing wood products.

A total of 28 bags contained 25kg of cocaine each in brick form. The AFP said a forensic examination of the drugs, worth an estimated AUD $280 million (USD $195 million), identified different emblems on the bricks of cocaine, including the numerals ‘5’ and ‘365’ and the word ‘Netflix’.

Following the preliminary investigation, the Maersk Inverness was allowed to continue its journey.

Records from Maersk show Maersk Inverness called in Cartagena, Colombia in June before stops in Philadelphia and Charleston on the U.S. East Coast, Balboa, Panama (via Panama Canal) and Tauranga, New Zealand before its arrival at Port Botany.

“This seizure demonstrates the technical expertise of our dedicated ABF officers who made the initial detection and stopped this large shipment of cocaine from entering our community,” said Australian Border Force’s Detained Goods NSW Superintendent Joanne Yeats.

“We continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure the Australian community is kept safe from the importation of dangerous drugs,” she said.

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