Supplied photo
Supplied photo
Supplied photo
Supplied photo
Supplied photo
Supplied photo

Dubai Customs seizes 662kg illegal drugs stashed in a dhow

Dubai - It was the biggest drug smuggling attempt foiled off Dubai's coast, the authorities said.


A Staff Reporter

Published: Tue 24 Nov 2020, 3:49 PM

Last updated: Tue 24 Nov 2020, 3:50 PM

The Dubai Customs has seized 662kg of illegal drugs in what has been declared the biggest smuggling attempt foiled in the emirate’s coastal borders. The narcotics were found stashed in a dhow that was sailing its way into the country.

With the help of the advanced control system Siyaj, the operations room of the Sea Customs Centre Management was able to quickly analyse all the data it had gathered about the dhow. It was flagged as ‘very high risk’ because of the suspicious shipment it had on board.

The vessel was tracked down and then thoroughly searched upon reaching the port. The authorities deployed K9 sniffing dogs and used a range of high-tech tools in inspecting the dhow.

The drugs were found hidden in ‘secret storage point’ within the vessel, and a mobile customs laboratory confirmed that the shipment contained different types of narcotics.

Among the contraband seized were 306.44kg of crystal meth; 201.44kg of opium and cannabis; and 122.72kg of narcotic pills and psychotropic substances; and 32.62kg of heroin.

World’s first integrated control system

Abdullah Busnad, executive director of the customs inspection division at Dubai Customs, said Siyaj — their recently launched advanced control system — has bolstered efforts in fighting drug smuggling.

Siyaj — which means ‘fence’ — is the world’s first 24/7 integrated control system. It is powered by artificial intelligence; run by rapid intervention teams that work round the clock; and includes drones and K9 dogs.

“Developing customs inspection and examination capacities helps us target and intercept high-risk shipments,” Busnad said.

Sultan bin Sulayem, group chairman and CEO of DP World and chairman of the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, hailed the vigilance of the Dubai Customs.

“Dubai Customs teams are highly alert and they work diligently to strike this balance between protection and facilitation. The latest seizure made by the Sea Customs Management is an example of how the teams work to secure the borders and support the uninterrupted flow of trade.”

He added: “Our top strategic priority is securing our borders while facilitating legitimate trade and travel movement.”

Last May, after coronavirus restrictions were eased, the Sea Customs Management has launched a campaign called ‘Safe Homeland’ to further strengthen security.

More news from UAE