NEWS FEATURE | Into the murky world where mafia, Cape ship and R600m coke haul collide
No-one’s talking but something’s extremely fishy after a massive drug bust in Saldanha Bay
The Windward started her life as a fishing trawler in 1974 in the Dutch port city of Zaandam, providing a means for her crew to earn an honest day’s wage. Three name changes, two paint jobs, and 47 years later she and her Bulgarian and Myanmarese operators stand accused of smuggling nearly a ton of cocaine into SA.
Much like human cocaine mules hired by a Bulgarian syndicate to traffic drugs through Europe, she was used for similar means. SA police found 973 1kg blocks of cocaine tucked away in three compartments in her bowels when they pounced on her in Saldanha Bay harbour in the Western Cape, in a late night raid last Monday.
She looked the part of a cocaine smuggling ship when Sunday Times Daily visited her a few days later. A lone officer with a lunch box on the passenger seat of his police bakkie stood guard at end of the pier, where she was moored when special forces members stormed her, seizing the consignment worth R583m. ..