The French navy said Thursday it had made a record cannabis seizure in the Mediterranean sea after intercepting a ship carrying 20 tonnes of cannabis worth up to 50 million euros.
“To the best of our knowledge it is the biggest seizure by the French state in the Mediterranean,” vice-admiral Yves Joly told a news conference in Toulon.
The market value of the cannabis was “between 40 and 50 million euros ($53 and 66 million),” said regional customs head Hugues-Lionel Galy.
The Luna-S, a Tanzania-flagged vessel, was intercepted by the French navy on Sunday in international waters between Sardinia in Italy and Algeria.
The eight-member crew, who claimed to be Syrians, set the cannabis on fire and a part of the clandestine cargo was destroyed.
The ship was towed by a French vessel and arrived in the southern port city of Toulon on Thursday.
The men will be tried in France and could face up to 10 years in prison, if convicted.
Tanzania had authorised French authorities to stop and inspect the ship and try the suspects.
The Luna-S left Morocco and appeared headed for Egypt.