Italian customs officials intercepted a Tanzanian-flagged cargo ship carrying 30 tonnes of hashish in the Mediterranean Sea last week, police confirmed Sunday (September 8th).
Tanzanian Director of Criminal Investigations Robert Manumba confirmed that the MV Gold Star was registered in Zanzibar and flies the Tanzanian flag.
"Italian police have asked for permission to search the cargo vessel since it was flying the Tanzanian flag. We gave them the go-ahead and since today is Sunday, we will be in a position to know the outcome of the search [Monday]," he told Tanzania's The Citizen.
Reports from Italy, however, said Italian officials had already established the ship was carrying about 30 tonnes of hashish, loaded onto the vessel in Turkey, according to Italian officials.
Italian drug busters had been tipped off that "a major drug shipment was being transported on the cargo ship en route in the Mediterranean", Italian police said in a statement.
Officers tried to board the ship Friday, but when the crew members spotted the police speed boat, they attempted to set fire to the ship and jumped overboard, AFP reported.
The crew of nine, said to be Egyptian and Syrian nationals, were rescued and taken into custody, and the ship was secured after the fire was extinguished.