A total of 385 kilos of cocaine were retrieved from the water after the illicit cargo was thrown overboard from a container ship, according to Italian law enforcement agency Guardia di Finanza.
At the time the vessel was transiting from Brazil to Italy’s port of Gioia Tauro.
The container ship involved in the operation was reportedly the 2008-built Rio de Janeiro, owned by German shipping company Hamburg Sud.
Several Italian agencies worked on locating the cocaine, which was kept in 17 waterproof bags and tied together with floating buoys, some 16 miles off the coast of Gioia Tauro.
On arrival to the port, Italian authorities arrested nine crew members, believed to have been involved in the illegal act.
Guardia di Finanza estimated the street value of the seized cocaine to around EUR 77 million (USD 84.1 million).
World Maritime News contacted the owner of the vessel for further details, however, the company is yet to reply.
According to AIS data provided by MarineTraffic, the 80,455 dwt Rio de Janeiro is currently moored in Valencia, Spain.
World Maritime News Staff