Super Anarchist
Southern Ocean
Yacht carrying tonne of drugs hits Abrolhos Islands reef, alleged smugglers found on island

ABC Mid West & Wheatbelt
By Laura Meachim, Evan Morgan Grahame and Andrea Mayes

Updated 36 minutes agoThu 5 Sep 2019, 3:35pm

Photo: The yacht, named "Zero", has been brought to Geraldton after it was abandoned on a reef. (ABC Midwest and Wheatbelt: Laura Meachim)

Related Story: Australia's biggest ever meth haul sees $1 billion worth of drugs seized in WA

Two foreign nationals have appeared in court on charges of attempting to smuggle more than a tonne of cocaine and ecstasy into Western Australia after their yacht hit a reef and ran aground in the Abrolhos Islands off the Mid West coast.

Key points:

  • The men allegedly hid on a nearby island after abandoning their yacht
  • Police say the "significant" drug haul includes cocaine and ecstasy
  • The French and British nationals have appeared briefly in a Geraldton court

Police said the drugs, totalling more than 1,000 kilograms, were found packed in 40 bags, and had an estimated street value of more than $1 billion.

It is alleged the men — a 51-year-old French national and a 34-year-old English man —were sailing on the yacht when it ran aground on a reef near Burton Island, in the Pelsaert Group, on Monday.

A sea and air search was launched after the abandoned yacht was found, and the men were discovered allegedly hiding on a nearby island with the drugs concealed in another smaller vessel.

WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said the men had tried to hide the bags containing the drugs by covering them with seaweed.

Photo: The yacht was brought into the Geraldton Fishermen's Wharf for forensic examinations. (ABC Midwest and Wheatbelt: Laura Meachim)
He said forensic officers were still assessing the haul, but it included a "significant quantity" of cocaine, ecstasy and possibly also methamphetamine.

"We'll be alleging [the yacht] was coming across the Indian Ocean," he told radio station 6PR.

"They're accused of importing a very large amount of drugs. We haven't actually finished weighing it, it's a large quantity.

"We're working very, very closely with the DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration in the US], the National Crime Agency in the UK, and it's quite an extensive operation."

Police were last night seen unloading items from a vessel into a removal van at the Geraldton Fishermen's Wharf.

The yacht, named "Zero", was towed into the wharf this morning, where forensics are examining the vessel.

Men appear in Geraldton court

Antoine Dicenta and Graham Kurt Palmer have been charged with one count of importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug.

Photo: Police moved items from a vessel into a removal van at the Geraldton Fishermen's Wharf. (ABC Midwest and Wheatbelt: Laura Meachim)
The French and British nationals made a brief appearance in Geraldton Magistrates Court this morning.

They were both remanded in custody and will appear in court in Perth on September 20.

Commissioner Dawson said community members at the Abrolhos Islands alerted police when the yacht was spotted.

"I've got to commend the members of the community … they were of great assistance to police," he said.


Fah Kiew Tu

Curmudgeon, First Rank
Tasmania, Australia
I hope they don't throw the book at them, I'd prefer they used a 40' container.

Arseholes like this cause every other small boat traveling from country to country to come under increased surveillance.

30 years before possibility of parole in the worst shit-hole jail in the country would be reasonable.




Super Anarchist
Oh.... I thought this had something to do with me.  It doesn't.  Really.  I know nothing about hiding stuff on boats.  Honest.  



Wondering which brand of yacht is the current choice of discerning drug smugglers these days?
you have a couple of listings that would be perfect. a 49 and a 43DS. I suspect that the 43DS with the raised cabin floor and deeper bilge would make it the better drug runners choice.