Over 50 large bags, containing suspected packets of illicit drugs, were removed by Seychelles’ military officials and the police from a dhow intercepted in the island nation’s waters.
The Seychelles Coast Guard escorted the dhow and its seven crew members aboard to its base at Ile Du Port arriving at around 1p.m. on Saturday.
“During the Coast Guard routine patrol, the dhow was spotted southeast of Mahe, and the Coast Guard vessel, Zoroaster, was sent to their location. They had to use force to stop the boat whose crew was not cooperating,” said Lieutenant Colonel Archil Mondon, the public relations officer of the Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF) and the commanding officer of the Special Forces Unit.
He explained that while they were boarding the dhow, which had seven crew members, some of them had dumped some bags into the sea. The bags were recovered and transported to the main island of Mahe.
Seychelles Coast Guard escorted the dhow and its seven crew members aboard to its base at Ile Du Port. (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY
The operation to inspect and remove the suspected drugs from the boat took place in the presence of President Wavel Ramkalawan, along with other senior members of the SDF and the Seychelles Police.
Ramkalawan has congratulated the Seychelles security services including the SDF, the police and intelligence services as well as all other key partners involved in the recent anti-narcotics operation during which the largest amount of drugs was seized. “This is a reflection of the enormity of the challenge our country is facing vis-a-vis the drug scourge, and the government with all its stakeholders and partners remains determined to pursue this fight for the protection of our people, especially the youth of Seychelles. We will not give up in this fight and I once again call on everyone to join in this fight. Congratulations for a job well done!” he said.
The Commissioner of Police, Ted Barbe, said that the SDF and the police worked closely together in such operations. The police then take over the investigation once the boat is brought ashore.
“There are no Seychellois aboard the boat and we are yet to ascertain the crews’ nationality, although we know that a lot of Iranians tend to frequent our waters,” said Commissioner Barbe.
He added that at the moment, they cannot confirm what type of drugs are in the bags, although they suspect it to be illicit drugs. This will be known once the relevant tests are done.