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Seized Cigarette Cargoship Detained in Dublin Port For Three Years to Be Finally Disposed

27th June 2017

#SeizedShip – A Moldovan flagged cargoship seized with €14m worth of tobacco by the Revenue Commissioners three years ago still remains detained in Dublin Port but plans are in place to finally dispose the vessel. 

The 667 tonnes Shingle had loaded 32m cigarettes and 4,000kg of water pipe tobacco in Slovenia and from there arrived to Drogheda Port in June 2014 via Lisbon, Portugal. At the time of the recovery it was the biggest seizure of cigarettes so far in Europe that year. The operation had targeted an international crime gang led by Irish and UK nationals based also in Europe.

Afloat can confirm the latest status of the seized cargoship following a response from the Revenue Commissioners which commented the ‘High Court last month made an Order for the forfeiture of the MV Shingle. There was no appeal within the specified period and the vessel can now be disposed of. Following consideration of disposal options, appropriate disposal arrangements will be made in due course’.

The customs seizure operation had involved not just the Revenue Commissioners but months of work and co-operation from law enforcement agencies in Solvenia and Portugal. This led to the Shingle boarded in the Irish Sea by Customs officers backed by the Gardaí.

The Shingle was escorted by Revenue Customs Cutters Suirbheir and sister Faire to Drogheda. Due to the sheer scale of the seizure for logistical reasons it was decided to transfer the 1982 built cargoship from the Louth port to the capital. Again this passage required the cutters to accompany the vessel.

Initially the Shingle in Dublin Port was allocated a berth within Alexandra Basin along Ocean Pier to where an intensive examination of the illegal contraband took place. Following the customs seizure, the Paris MoU, an international organisation whose mission is to eliminate the operation of sub-standard ships through Port State Control detained the cargoship. 

The Shingle shifted berths to the North Wall Quay Extension. This is where for the last three years the small ship has occupied a prominent berth given its close proximity to passing commuters using the Tom Clarke (East-Link) toll bridge.

Published in Dublin Port
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Dublin Port Information

Dublin Port Company is currently investing about €277 million on its Alexandra Basin Redevelopment (ABR), which is due to be complete by 2021. The redevelopment will improve the port's capacity for large ships by deepening and lengthening 3km of its 7km of berths. The ABR is part of a €1bn capital programme up to 2028, which will also include initial work on the Dublin Port’s MP2 Project - a major capital development project proposal for works within the existing port lands in the northeastern part of the port.

Dublin Port has also recently secured planning approval for the development of the next phase of its inland port near Dublin Airport. The latest stage of the inland port will include a site with capacity to store more than 2,000 shipping containers and infrastructure such as an ESB substation, an office building and gantry crane.

Dublin Port Company recently submitted a planning application for a €320 million project that aims to provide significant additional capacity at the facility within the port in order to cope with increases in trade up to 2040. The scheme will see a new roll-on/roll-off jetty built to handle ferries of up to 240 metres in length, as well as the redevelopment of an oil berth into a deep-water container berth.

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