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16 April - Seize and sinking of drug ship Pong Su

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16 April - Seize and sinking of drug ship Pong Su

Unread postby Max ADU » Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:08 pm

Today in Australian History
16 April 2003

See also video at bottom
Image

The Australian Army's Special Operations Command begins a four-day chase of the North Korean ocean freighter Pong Su off the coast of Lorne, Victoria.

The Pong Su was a 349-foot (106 m), 3,743-tonne ocean freighter registered in Tuvalu and North Korean owned. The ship had been modified for long voyages and was carrying enough fuel and provisions to travel around the world without needing to port.

Caught red handed.

On 16 April 2003,police in Australia observed the Pong Su close to shore at Boggaley Creek near the seaside town of Wye River in Victoria and followed two suspects on the shore as they left the beach and headed for a nearby hotel.

The next morning, the two suspects were apprehended after leaving their hotel with 50 kg of pure heroin. Then, in a search of the beach at Boggaley Creek, Australian police discovered the body of a man of East Asian appearance covered by seaweed close to a dinghy.

Image

It was speculated that the dinghy had capsized landing the heroin, drowning one of the crew. Police also apprehended another man in the immediate area.



A fourth suspect was also taken into custody. A further 75 kg of heroin in similar packaging was later discovered buried near Wye River in May 2003 after subsequent searches following coordinates from a seized GPS device.

Operation Sorbet
Image
The Australian government ordered the Pong Su into harbour; however, the ship attempted to escape into international waters.

After a four-day chase, known as Operation Sorbet, the Pong Su was captured after Australian Army Special Operations Forces stormed the ship in a helicopter landing.

Watch on youtube.com

The Pong Su was secured and brought into port in Sydney.

Drug charges
The four men arrested on shore were not North Korean origin (but from Malaysia, Singapore and China), who was not part of the crew, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the importation of a commercial quantity of heroin.

They were sentenced to between 22 and 24 years imprisonment.

Drug charges were laid against the ship's entire crew. Twenty-seven crew members were discharged on 5 March 2004 by a magistrate on the basis that there was insufficient evidence for them to stand trial.

They were deported from Australia on 24 June 2004.

Fate of the Pong Su
After capture the ship was brought to Sydney Harbour where it was originally moored at Garden Island naval base, Woolloomooloo.

It was taken to Snails Bay, and moored for over two years, costing the taxpayer over $2,500 a day for maintenance and security.

Authorities eventually decided to scuttle the ship and on 23 March 2006, in a joint RAAF and RAN military exercise, the Pong Su was sunk by two 2000-pound (907 kg) laser-guided bombs dropped from RAAF F-111 aircraft.

Sending a strong message to international drug smuggling rings that the AFP and Commonwealth Government would take all measures necessary to stop illegal drug importation.

Watch on youtube.com
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Max ADU
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Re: 16 April - Seize and sinking of drug ship Pong Su

Unread postby Max ADU » Sat Apr 16, 2016 7:43 pm

bumped
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