Drugs found onboard vessel sailing to Gdansk
MV Matthew, sailing under the flag of Panama, has been detained by the Irish defence services with a significant quantity of drugs located onboard. It was a coordinated operation at sea by a Joint Task Force (JTF) comprising members of the Irish Naval Service, Irish Air Corps, Army Ranger Wing, Revenue Customs Service and An Garda Síochána, which resulted in the vessel’s detention.
As part of this intelligence-led operation, the JTF requested assistance from the Defence Forces and this was provided by the deployment of the Le William Butler Yeats, two AW139 helicopters, one CASA fixed-wing aircraft and one PC12 fixed-wing aircraft. A team from the Army Ranger Wing also assisted in the operation.
The vessel was tracked by both Air Corps and the Naval Service assets over a number of days and was detained following the firing of warning shots in its direction by the Le William Butler Yeats. A specialist team from the Army Ranger Wing deployed by helicopter onto the MV Matthew via fast rope insertion in challenging conditions. The ARW made the vessel safe and enabled it’s boarding by officials and personnel from the Naval Service, the Garda National Drugs Unit, the Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) and Revenue’s Customs Service.
The Naval Service escorted the vessel to an Irish Port where it will be detained to allow for a detailed search and investigation by the relevant State agencies.
“This Joint & multiagency Op demonstrates the interoperability of Óglaigh na hÉireann, underlining the unique capability that we bring to the defence of the State. The significant intel led planning by the JTF enabled the coordination & execution of this complex multiagency Op. pic.twitter.com/2bcsZkyxdg
— Óglaigh na hÉireann (@defenceforces) September 26, 2023
The Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Sean Clancy commends the efforts of all personnel involved in the operation, “I would like to personally commend the courage, discipline and professionalism of all personnel involved in this successful operation. This Joint and multiagency operation demonstrates the interoperability of Óglaigh na hÉireann, underlining the unique capability that we bring to the defence of the State. The significant intelligence-led planning by the Joint Task Force enabled the coordination and execution of this complex multi-agency operation. This operation demonstrated the importance of all services of the Defence Forces and their ability to operate in the most challenging of conditions.”
According to the AIS data, the vessel was sailing from Brazil and heading to the port of Gdansk in Poland.