Spanish Authorities Seize Over $26m in Drugs

By Kathryn Stone 2015-07-02 11:36:41

Spanish authorities intercepted a cargo ship this week carrying a massive load of hashish resin, valued at 24 million Euro ($26.6 million).

The nearly 16 ton haul was discovered after French police notified Europol of a suspicious vessel thought to be connected with drug smuggling operations. Specialized intervention teams from the Guardia Civil boarded the 2,495 dwt general cargo ship the evening of June 28 as it passed along the Southern Coast of Spain, near Malaga. The vessel was then escorted into the port as authorities conducted their search for the illicit cargo.

The drug haul was found hidden in a false bottom of the ship under tons of steel chains and loose salt. It consisted of 500 bricks of hashish resin weighing approximately 15.7 tons. Nine crew members, comprised of six Syrian and three Indian nationals, were arrested following the discovery.

In a written statement the Guardia Civil reaffirmed the importance of the close collaboration between France, Spain and Italy in combatting narcotics operations in Eastern Europe. Over the past two and a half years the combined task force has intercepted over 20 drug vessels destined for the Eastern Mediterranean.

Typically drug ships depart from Northern Africa and bring their cargo into the Eastern Mediterranean. From there, narcotics shipments are distributed throughout Europe.

This week’s drug seizure is valued at 24 million Euro ($26.6 million) in the Spanish market, however many other European markets command higher prices.


Statoil, Lithuania to Develop Baltic Sea LNG

By Reuters 2015-07-02 09:07:34

Norway’s Statoil and Lithuania’s Lietuvos Energija plan to join forces to develop a small-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply operation, competing with Finnish gas utility Gasum.

Litgas, an LNG arm of state-owned Lietuvos Energija, and Statoil signed a preliminary agreement on Thursday to establish a joint venture by the end of 2015, Litgas said in a statement.

Statoil has a contract with Litgas to deliver 0.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year to Lithuania’s LNG terminal at Klaipeda port in 2014.

The terminal will be used as a hub to distribute LNG by smaller tankers around the Baltic Sea to fuel ships and for inland use where pipelines don’t reach.

The joint venture plans to start operations in the last quarter of 2017 at the latest.

“This is a market in its infancy, but is expected to grow quite considerably in years to come”, Geir Heitmann, Statoil vice president for LNG trading, said after signing a memorandum of understanding on the joint venture.

Finland’s majority state-owned Gasum also plans to develop an LNG bunkering business in the Baltic Sea by opening several small LNG terminals on Finland’s coast.

Gasum acquired 51 percent of Norwegian LNG distributor Skangass, saying the deal made it the largest operator in the Nordic LNG market.

The Baltic Sea small-scale LNG market is forecast to reach 0.5-1 billion cubic meters of gas by 2020 due to stricter environmental regulations for ship fuel, Litgas said.


Scare at Washington Navy Yard

By Kathryn Stone 2015-07-02 08:48:52

Police responded to a reports of an active shooter at the Washington DC Navy Yard Thursday morning.

According to the Washington Post, authorities received the report around 7:40am and have since closed down several streets due to the large number police on scene. The U.S. Navy confirmed on Twitter that a lockdown was in place, however they have not confirmed the incident as of yet.

The Washington Navy Yard was the scene of another deadly shooting in 2013. Gunman Aaron Alexis shot and killed a dozen people and injured another eight. Alexis was killed in an ensuing fire fight with police.