NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Nine charged after cocaine found on North Sea boat

Hamal Image copyright NAtional Crime Agency
Image caption The Hamal was intercepted by the Royal Navy frigate HMS Somerset and the Border Force cutter Valiant

A quantity of cocaine has been seized after a boat was boarded in the North Sea and searched at Aberdeen harbour.

The Tanzanian-registered Hamal was intercepted by the Royal Navy frigate HMS Somerset and the Border Force cutter Valiant about 100 miles east of the city on Thursday.

It was accompanied into the harbour and a full search was carried out.

Nine crew, aged between 26 and 63, have been charged with drug trafficking offences.

Image copyright NAtional Crime Agency
Image copyright NAtional Crime Agency
Image copyright National Crime Agency

They have been detained in custody and are expected to appear at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on Monday.

John McGowan, from the National Crime Agency's Border Policing Command, based at the Scottish Crime Campus, Gartcosh, said: "This is a potentially significant seizure of illegal drugs, only made possible by the co-operation between ourselves, Border Force, the Royal Navy and our international partners.

"The exact amount of cocaine on board is yet to be determined and the search is likely to continue for some time.

"The ongoing NCA investigation is being supported by Police Scotland."

The Border Force acted on information supplied by NCA, which recently replaced the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

The Border Force is a law enforcement agency responsible for frontline border control operations in the UK.

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