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Cocaine, two men found in container on Maersk vessel

Mexican authorities confiscate 102.5 kilos of cocaine from Svendborg Maersk at Port of Manzanillo

Mexican authorities say two men and nearly 226 pounds of cocaine were hidden in a container on the Svendborg Maersk. (Photo: Maersk)

A.P. Møller – Mærsk said it is cooperating with Mexican authorities after two men and 102.5 kilos of cocaine were found in a container on board the Svendborg Maersk at the Port of Manzanillo on Thursday. 

“We can confirm that authorities at Manzanillo Terminal are conducting an investigation after allegedly two stevedores were found hidden alongside narcotics in one container,” said Christian Kjærgaard-Winther, Maersk’s senior press officer. “We are collaborating with the Mexican authorities in charge of the case. As a matter of policy, Maersk will not comment further while criminal investigations are ongoing.” 

The office of the secretary of the navy in Mexico said officials had been tipped off that the Svendborg was carrying illicit cargo and that two people were arrested. The names of those individuals have not been released. 

“At the time of the inspection, two male persons who did not belong to the ship’s crew were located inside a container, as well as two packages wrapped in black with red plastic that due to their characteristics did not correspond to the merchandise transported,” a translated statement from the Mexican government said. 

Each package contained 45 bricks that tested positive as cocaine, Mexican officials said. The total weight was 102.5 kilos — nearly 226 pounds. 

Kjærgaard-Winther said Maersk is committed to conducting business in a “responsible and lawful manner.”

“Maersk does not accept illegal cargo and we have guidelines in place to guide staff on screening and handling cargo bookings, to be alert to anything unusual or suspicious. We proactively work with authorities to mitigate risk and will cooperate openly with relevant authorities during these investigations,” he said. 

The Svendborg Maersk also was involved in a drug bust last August, when 23,368 kilos of fentanyl were found at the Port of Lazaro Cardenas in Michoacan, Mexico.

And in February 2014, the Svendborg was in the news when it lost 520 containers overboard off the coast of France. 

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Click for more FreightWaves/American Shipper articles by Kim Link-Wills.

Kim Link Wills

Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills has written about everything from agriculture as a reporter for Illinois Agri-News to zoology as editor of the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine. Her work has garnered awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Magazine Association of the Southeast. Prior to serving as managing editor of American Shipper, Kim spent more than four years with XPO Logistics.