Container ship ROTTERDAM EXPRESS reported to Colombian Maritime Authorities unauthorized presence of unknown persons on board, shortly after leaving Cartagena Colombia, bound for Dominican Republic, on late Jan 27. Coast Guard and Navy were sent to ROTTERDAM EXPRESS, which according to AIS, reduced her speed. Teams of commandos, immigration and police boarded the ship, and detected 10 persons, clad in black, who somehow found their way on board during ship’s stay at Cartagena. In following cargo check, 185 kilos of pure cocaine were found, understood in container or containers. Intruders were detained, one of them being a convict.
ROTTERDAM EXPRESS meanwhile, resumed sailing to her next port of call in Dominican Republic at a reduced speed. At 0430 UTC she was sailing at some 5.5 knots speed, approaching Dominican Republic coast. Understood investigation and probably, search, are still under way.
Colombian authorities believe illegals on board were connected to drugs which were found. Quite an unusual story, while drug trafficking in containers is as regular, as your line shipping schedules, never before did traffickers infiltrate the ship, to watch after their precious cargo. Or maybe, such cases weren’t made public. Anyway, the complicity of some of the crew can’t be excluded at a present stage.
There’s video made by Colombian media, but not much can be made out of it, it’s just helicopter’s overflight.
Container ship ROTTERDAM EXPRESS, IMO 9193317, dwt 66975, capacity 4843 TEU, built 2000, flag Germany, operator Hapag-Lloyd AG.