Was the ill-fated Costa Concordia used for drug smuggling, on top of all its other woes? A recent Italian investigation on a drug smuggling ring suggests so, as it exposes a cocaine trafficking racket that uses cruise ships to ferry drugs from one destination to another. Kemplon Engineering takes a closer look at this shocking, developing news story.
Is drug smuggling on cruise ships on the rise?
Earlier this year, five of Norwegian Cruise Line’s galley staff were picked up for smuggling 5kg of cocaine from Honduras, while in Argentina, two crew from Royal Caribbean International were caught with over a million dollars’ worth of drugs. Now, in an unrelated case, a police investigation on the drug routes between Europe, South America and the Caribbean is revealing large amounts of cocaine may have been smuggled on luxury ships and missed by authorities.
The investigation yielded information from monitored communications, indicating that a large shipment of Mafia-owned cocaine that may have even been on the Costa Concordia’s final, fatal voyage when it sank in January, 2012. It has been reported in the media that aside from Costa, MSC and Norwegian vessels may have also been used for drug smuggling.
It is believed by authorities that though senior officers or company officials are not likely to be involved, some crew members might have been in on the drug trafficking activities, as drugs may have been smuggled in among supplies. Drugs may have also been brought aboard by couriers pretending to be passengers.
Our modern world is fraught with many dangers. It is so unfortunate that cruise traveling—an activity enjoyed by millions and a great contributor to the tourism incomes of many of the world’s finest destinations—should be tainted by these crimes. We at Kemplon Engineering hope that the ever-dynamic cruise industry can come together for a response that can be effective in keeping these dangers away from the pleasures of cruise travel.
^ Behrman, Elizabeth. “Cruise ship employees charged with smuggling cocaine in their underwear.” The Tampa Tribune, 11 Mar 2015. Web. 10 Apr 2015. http://tbo.com/news/crime/cruise-ship-employees-charged-with-smuggling-cocaine-in-their-underwear-20150310/
^ “Costa Concordia Used for Cocaine Smuggling.” World Maritime News, 31 Mar 2015. Web. 10 Apr 2015. http://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/156181/costa-concordia-used-for-cocaine-smuggling/
^ Davies, Phil. “Cruise ship cocaine smuggling racket uncovered.” Travel Weekly, 31 Mar 2015. Web. 10 Apr 2015. http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2015/03/31/53673/cruise-ship-cocaine-smuggling-racket-uncovered.html
^ “Grounded Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia may have been used to smuggle cocaine: reports.” ABC.net.au, 31 Mar 2015. Web. 10 Apr 2015. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-31/costa-concordia-may-have-been-used-to-smuggle-drugs-reports-say/6362552
^ “Mafia used capsized cruise ship to ‘smuggle drugs’.” NY Post, 31 Mar 2015. Web. 10 Apr 2015. http://nypost.com/2015/03/31/mafia-used-capsized-cruise-ship-to-smuggle-drugs/