Greek-Owned Ship Seized with 850kg of Cocaine in Venice

atlas feature

Italian authorities have intercepted Greek-owned ship, 'Atlas', a vessel owned by Laskaridis Shipping, laden with a staggering 850kg of cocaine while docked in Venice.

The authoritative reported the seizure, revealing that the illicit cargo was found hidden in the ship's ventilation ducts during routine inspections. The Atlas, flying the Liberian flag, is owned by Panagiotis Laskaridis, head of Laskaridis Shipping, a prominent figure in the Greek shipping community.

According to reports, none of the crew members were arrested, but Italian authorities have initiated thorough searches of the vessel, which began on Tuesday. The ship had departed from Santos, Brazil, on March 23, and arrived off the coast of Venice on April 17, where it remained anchored as of Friday morning.

The incident underscores the growing challenge of drug trafficking targeting container ships, with criminal syndicates exploiting vulnerabilities in port security and corruption within the industry. Last month, Europol revealed that criminal gangs had transported at least 200 tonnes of cocaine through Europe's busiest ports, using sophisticated tactics to evade detection.

Meanwhile, investigators from the Italian financial police are exploring possible connections between this seizure and a recent massive drug bust off the coast of Sicily. In that operation, Italian authorities seized two tonnes of cocaine packaged in waterproof containers and tied to buoys, with an estimated street value of over €400 million.

The discovery off the Sicilian coast suggests a coordinated effort by drug cartels to smuggle narcotics into Europe using merchant ships and small speedboats. However, the quick response by Italian Air Force and Navy personnel in intercepting the drugs on board the Atlas demonstrates a proactive approach to combating drug trafficking in European waters.


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