On 5 August 2019, 2000 built handy bulk carrier 32K DWT MV UBC Savannah’s captain was detained at Altamira Port in Mexico, after 240 kg of cocaine was found on board of the bulk carrier. Captain Andrzej Lasota was thrown into a Mexican prison due to drug trade-in shipping. The petition has been submitted for Captain Andrzej Lasota who has spent nearly six (6) months in prison. MV UBC Savannah is managed by Cyprus based Intership Navigation. Crew members are under risk as drug traffickers use their ships to carry unlawful cargoes. Captain Andrzej Lasota was imprisoned on grounds of alleged negligence for failing to be aware that the ship may have been carrying prohibited substances. Intership Navigation fears Captain Andrzej Lasota adherence to proper procedures may have contributed to his plight. Mexican authorities were alerted after a tip-off that MV UBC Savannah may be used for a possible drug smuggling operation. At the loading port at Barranquilla, Colombia, MV UBC Savannah was subject to various broad searches by both local police and port security officers during the loading operation. 240 kg of cocaine was noticed by MV UBC Savannah’s seafarers as dubious packages during the unloading operations in Mexico. Cocaine bags were buried under petcoke coal which had made it almost impossible to detect during the loading operation. Captain Andrzej Lasota promptly stopped discharging operation and called Mexican authorities. Unfortunately, Mexican authorities arrested MV UBC Savannah’s seafarers. Captain Andrzej Lasota remains in prison, but other seafarers were released by Mexican court almost two (2) months after the arrest.
Drugs trade in shipping has been increasing. When drug smugglers load illegal cargoes in containers, shipowner cannot access the cargo and the responsibility for the shipment is with the shipper. On the other hand, bulk carriers transport loose cargoes, the shipowner has more responsibility.
This is the second ship of Cyprus based Intership Navigation that is seized with cocaine in Mexico. In September 2019, Intership Navigation managed 2005 built handy bulk carrier 38K DWT MV UBC Tokyo was arrested with 50 kg of cocaine in Mexico.
Captain Andrzej Lasota has been transferred to a federal prison in Tepic, Mexico. According to Intership Navigation, Captain Andrzej Lasota was detained without either due cause or trial. Furthermore, Intership Navigation believes that Captain Andrzej Lasota is innocent and has become an accidental victim of a dirty drug cartel game. If Mexican judges find Captain Andrzej Lasota guilty, he may face prolonged imprisonment, ranging from anything between 10 and 20 years. According to Cyprus based Intership Navigation, Mexican local authorities have been assigning responsibility to innocent parties.