The 51,000-ton bulk carrier Matthew, pictured at Marino Point in Cork harbour, was caught carrying at least €157 million worth of cocaine. It was seized on 26 September 2023 by Irish authorities and taken to Cork.

Launched in 2001 as Sea Beauty, the ship was renamed Peregrine in 2005 and became Akson Sara in 2016. In early August she was renamed Matthew.

Her journey to Ireland began on 19 August, departing Curaçao, a Dutch-Carribean island roughly 30km north of Venezuela.

Seven men were arrested in connection with the seizure of over 2,000kg of cocaine, which gardaí say is the largest haul in the history of the Irish State, with all men being held at garda stations in the southern region.

The seventh arrest was of a Dutch national, and came as gardaí continued to interview crew members on Matthew.

Six other men, three Ukrainians, two Iranians and a UK national, were already in custody. Two of them have had their periods of detention extended by a judge.

The military operation involving the Naval Service and the Army Ranger Wing, which boarded and secured the ship, was concluded quickly, but the investigation continued.

Officers from the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau have been interviewing the other 25 crew members who were on board when the ship refused to stop and tried to evade capture with counter manoeuvres to get to international waters.

The forensic examination of Matthew, which was under armed guard in Cork harbour, continued for several days.

Photo by Patrick Healy


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