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Age pensioners in cocaine bust on sedate cruise ship

January 9, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Police arrested a pensioner couple aged in their 70s after discovering a “large amount” of cocaine in a cabin aboard a classic cruise ship well-known to Australian passengers for its “handsome traditional profile, beautiful teak decks and distinctive dark blue hull”.

Marco Polo, an ocean liner type of ship rather than a huge floating hotel, is favoured by older passengers. It carries up to 800 passengers “within a warm and friendly atmosphere that reflects a truly intimate cruise experience”, according to its operator Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV).

Police say the ship had more aboard than than just atmosphere.

Plain-clothes detectives swooped on Marco Polo when the ship was docked in Lisbon as it returned from a Caribbean cruise around the West Indies and Azores.

They say they discovered nine kilograms of cocaine hidden in four suitcases in the cabin of a British couple aged 70 and 72.

Reports in the UK say the elderly couple have criminal records and now live in Spain.

Britain’s Sun said the couple, last reported in custody in Portugal, paid the equivalent of AUD 5365 each for their Caribbean cruise. Police say the cocaine was concealed in false bottoms in the suitcases and is worth about AUD 3.6 million.

MS Marco Polo photographed in Bergen, Norway 


They suspect the couple received it on a Caribbean island.

A spokesman for CMV confirmed that Portuguese police raided the Marco Polo in Lisbon and detained two passengers.

“It is understood this was in connection with the suspected possession of narcotics. Cruise & Maritime Voyages is co-operating fully with the Portuguese police officials.

“Cruise & Maritime Voyages do not tolerate any criminal activity or anti-social behaviour on board their ships.”

Marco Polo was built in 1965, way back when Robert Menzies was Prime Minister of Australia and the Beatles were riding high on the charts. The ship has seen many adventures since it was launched as Aleksandr Pushkin, entering service in that year with the Baltic Shipping Company.

Written by Peter Needham

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