Coast Guard seizes 1.55 mln smuggled cigarette packs from Tanzania-flagged freighter

The Greek coast guard seized 1,557,200 contraband cigarette packs from the Tanzania-flagged cargo ship “Golendri” which the coast guard immobilized as it was sailing south of Crete on Friday.

The loss of taxes and unpaid duties for the State from this huge amount of smuggled cigarettes is calculated at 6,019,186.94 million euros, authorities said.

“Golendri”, with six Ukrainian crew members had left from Bar, in Montenegro, and was heading to Tobruk, Libya, when it was located by Greek authorities sailing south of Crete with its navigation lights and its automatic identification system (AIS) turned off.

Soon after, the ship stopped its engines 1.5 nautical miles off the coast of Sfakia. The coast guard, using a thermal camera and radar, saw a speed boat approaching the freighter and starting to unload the illegal cargo. A coast guard vessel intervened, chased and stopped the ship and led it to the port of Heraklion, where police recorded the cargo.

The six arrested Ukrainians will be led before the Piraeus prosecutor on Sunday.