NAIROBI, Kenya, July 8 – Security agencies have confirmed that a ship, MV Al Noor, intercepted off the coast of Lamu last week was ferrying narcotics.
Head of the Police Marine Unit Stanley Lamai on Tuesday said they recovered several kilogrammes of narcotics and could recover more as anti-narcotics officers were still searching the ship.
The recovered drugs, he said, were handed over to the government chemist for further analysis and verification of their composition.
The ship was intercepted by Kenyan Naval Officers in response to intelligence from Interpol that it was one of two likely to contain narcotics or firearms.
“The ship was escorted all the way up to our port in Kilindini where it is under 24-hour guard and they are also making arrangements with port authorities to have a berth where we are going to offload all the goods. So far what is inside we don’t know,” Mombasa Acting Police Commander Sevelino Kubai told journalists at the time.
The ten crew members who had been on board the ship at the time of its interception – seven Pakistani, two Indians and one Iranian — had insisted that they were only ferrying 300 tonnes of cement.
“They claim that they are carrying 300 metric tonnes of cement from Yemen and we are there to confirm whether it is cement. We have a team from anti-narcotics who have arrived from Nairobi and investigation is ongoing,” Kubai had said.
The ship’s documentation raised further suspicion given it was unclear, beyond the fact that it had originated from Pakistan and stopped over in Mogadishu, where it was headed.
“The documents reflect that they were en-route to Zanzibar but when we look at those documents they reflect that the goods inside were actually loaded in Mombasa and their destination is Kenya reflecting that there is more to be looked into that ship,” he said of the ship currently docked at the Port of Mombasa under armed guard.
The search of the ship is a multi-agency affair with the Navy, port police and maritime authorities involved.
Meanwhile the 10 arrested on board the ship remain in detention, undergoing interrogation, pending the verification of all MV Al Noor’s contents.