Last Friday evening, RGP marine officers seized an abandoned 14 metre Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) powered with four 350 hp outboard engines, of the type used for drug trafficking across the Straits of Gibraltar.
The vessel was abandoned approximately 1 nautical mile off Rosia Bay after it ran out of fuel, with the three man crew being picked up by a second RHIB that came to their aid despite being chased by a GDP vessel into the Bay off Europa Point. The second RHIB were chased out of the area by both the GDP and RGP vessels that were unable to match its speed.
This is the first time a vessel of this size and power has been seized by local Law Enforcement Agencies. For the vessel to have been unable to return to land before running out of fuel is indicative of the pressure being exerted by Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) in combating drug trafficking across the Straits of Gibraltar.
These vessels operate predominantly at night and to counter them and their illicit activity local LEAs work closely together in support of each other. Since the beginning of the year RGP marine crews alone have responded to 32 reports of suspect vessels operating in BGTW, resulting in RGP vessels having engaged in 23 high speed pursuits.
In addition to this latest seizure, the efforts of local LEAs have resulted in the large amount of Cannabis Resin recovered from the sea recently by the RGP and HM Customs and the apprehending by RGP officers of a two engine, 10m RHIB and two of its crew members only last week.