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'£500m' cocaine haul recovered on North Sea tug boat

More than three tonnes of cocaine has been recovered from a tug vessel intercepted following a joint operation in the North Sea.

The cocaine, if cut and sold in the UK, could have had a likely potential street value of more than £500 million, depending on its purity.

The cocaine was found on the MV Hamal of the coast of Scotland. Credit: NCA

Acting on intelligence supplied by the NCA, a vessel was boarded by a team from the Royal Navy frigate HMS Somerset and Border Force cutter Valiant about 100 miles east of the Aberdeenshire coast of Scotland.

John McGowan, senior investigating officer for the NCA, said: "The result is this massive discovery – believed to be the biggest single class A drug seizure on record in the UK, and likely to be worth several hundred million pounds.

The nine-man crew of the Hamal, all Turkish nationals aged between 26 and 63, have been charged with drug trafficking offences.

They have been remanded in custody until Tuesday 5 May.