700 kilos of cocaine on German container ship – fake staged by authorities?

Contradictory information was received from Maritime Bulletin reader on container ship VEGA MERCURY cocaine seizure by Algeria authorities. According to this information, the ship berthed at Oran on May 29 as usual, after she was berthed authorities ordered her to move to Oran anchorage, where something of a show took place, with Navy ship, helicopter and media footage. That’s what took place, according to reader. No crew were arrested, said reader. He added, that the crew didn’t know anything about the drugs found in meat boxes.
I asked reader to name the source – on condition of anonymity – and give more details. The whole story was kind of fishy from the very beginning, I didn’t take ship’s track screenshot, regretfully, but I remember, that it was a straight track from Valencia to Oran. As of now, Jun 4, all AIS data from May 26 up to afternoon May 31 miraculously vanished, though the ship was and is in Med, not in the middle of nowhere. The whole “interception and seizure” scene can be staged, for PR purpose or maybe there’s something else, I don’t know. I don’t trust any authorities of any States, for that matter.
I banned reader’s comment, because it’s too emotional, full of “fake news” allegations, but no details on commentator identity were given, no explanation of how and where did he get this information. I wrote to him and asked for more details, hope he’ll reply. I repeat – I guarantee anonymity, [email protected]

That’s the comment which I banned:
Why do we need to lie and bend the truth? For media mileage and coverage? This is bullshit. This is not what actually happens. No single crew was suspected nor arrested. No single crew know what was inside of that reefer that came from brazil. The ship did not refuse entry to port because as per schedule the ship would anchor before going to port as per schedule. The ship was not intercepted by navy ship or helicopter, after the ship has berthed as per schedule, algerian authorities advise the ship to go back to anchorage area then being followed by navy ship and helicopter then they take photos and videos which is obviously for media mileage. This news is a fake news. A lie. A pure bullshit. You media is fucking fake news!!!!!!

He’s obviously, some kind of leftist or communist, and such people are as low in my trustworthiness rating, as States, officials, and major media. So I just don’t know what to think.
Voytenko Mikhail
June 4, 2018

Initial news:
700 kilos of cocaine on German container ship, 3 crew arrested
May 30, 2018
Container ship VEGA MERCURY was intercepted by Algerian Navy ship and helicopter off Oran, Algeria, on May 29, after Algerian authorities have been alerted by Spanish authorities on probable drugs shipment on board. More than 700 kilos of cocaine were found in boxes marked as “Halal Meat”, loaded into reefer container or containers. Container ship was taken to Oran and as of May 30, is berthed at Oran. 14 people were already arrested as suspects in drug trafficking. Seized cocaine originated from Latin America and most probably, containers were transshipped in Valencia, because VEGA MERCURY is a shuttle container ship trading in the Mediterranean.
The news wouldn’t be worth publishing – most part of trafficked in shipping containers drugs reach its’ destination anyway, without crew/owner involvement or knowledge, and we don’t even know the scale of the traffic, but in this case three crew were among arrested suspects. That’s unusual. Probably, it’s some kind of drug trafficking scheme, which requires crew cooperation
Container ship VEGA MERCURY, IMO 9403463, dwt 13702, capacity 1118 TEU, built 2009, flag Liberia, manager VEGA-REEDEREI GMBH & CO KG.



My name is Mikhail Voytenko, I’m Russian, professional merchant marine navigator, by education and former experience. I own and run Maritime Bulletin website for more than 10 years. I've been involved in solving a number of piracy hijack cases, including the hijack of ro-ro FAINA, loaded with tanks. It was me who made public, and unravel, freighter ARCTIC SEA mystery. I've been also closely involved in a number of maritime disaster, one of them being MSC FLAMINIA major fire.