Dutch nationals appear in court after 1.6 tonnes of cocaine seized from boat

Items being unloaded from a boat at Newlyn harbour after the National Crime Agency seized a sailing yacht in the English Channel (Ben Birchall/PA) Credit: PA

Two men have appeared in court after 1.6 tonnes of cocaine was seized from a boat in the English Channel.

Dutch nationals Maarten Peter Pieterse, 59, and Emile Adriaan Jeroen Schoemaker, 44, faced Bristol Magistrates’ Court where they were each accused of a drug importation offence.

The Netherlands-registered SY Marcia was intercepted off the coast of south-west Cornwall on Wednesday and escorted to Newlyn.

The National Crime Agency called the operation a “significant seizure of cocaine” but is yet to disclose the exact quantity recovered.

Pieterse and Schoemaker appeared before the court via videolink from Camborne for the brief hearing before magistrates.

The pair are accused of being “knowingly concerned in the carrying or concealing of controlled drug of Class A, namely cocaine, on the SY Marcia knowing or having reasonable grounds to suspect that the drug was intended to be imported or had been exported contrary to Section 3(1) of the Misuse of Drugs Act”.

Pieterse and Schoemaker spoke only to confirm their names, dates of birth, Dutch nationalities and to say that they did not have UK addresses.

Prosecutor Andy Young applied for the two defendants to be remanded into custody and asked for the case to be sent to the crown court.

“I would invite you to send this case to Bristol Crown Court on August 20,” Mr Young said.

“On Wednesday this week Dutch-registered sailing yacht Marcia was intercepted. Thus far 1.6 tonnes of cocaine has been recovered.

The Netherlands-registered SY Marcia which was intercepted off the coast of Cornwall Credit: PA

“The searches are ongoing and therefore more maybe on there. Two crew members were onboard.”

Solicitors representing the two defendants did not make bail applications.

Paul Deegan, chairman of the bench, said: “We are remanding you into custody until August 20. It will probably be by videolink. We are not granting you bail.”