AS Castor, a vessel chartered by MSC was boarded upon arrival at Conakry, Guinea on 3rd June 2015. Acting on prior information which they are understood to have received from police in another country, the Conakry police immediately identified a 20 foot dry van container whose contents they wanted to inspect. After that container was opened three large holdalls containing what is said to be packages of drugs were found stowed in the centre of the bagged cargo. The container in question was stuffed by MSC’s customer prior to delivery at the loadport terminal.
Over the weeks that have followed the Guinea Courts have formally arrested the vessel and the remaining cargo, as well as the vessel’s senior officers who were sent to a local gaol. A full inspection of the vessel and other cargo with sniffer dogs and other drug-detection equipment was scheduled by the Conakry Courts and, after much delay, was carried out in late June. MSC understands that no drugs have been found in other cargo. Since then negotiations have been ongoing to try and release the vessel, cargo and crew. The Courts have agreed to the release of the cargo destined for delivery to Guinea which has been delivered, but not the cargo destined for delivery elsewhere.
Due to the difficulties and delays in securing the release of the crew and the vessel, in recent weeks MSC have been trying to procure the release of the cargo remaining on board, so that the cargo can be transhipped at Conakry. Negotiations are ongoing, but no agreement has been reached so far. As soon as agreement has been reached with the Guinea authorities, either for the cargo to go forward on M/V A/S Castor or on another vessel after transhipment, MSC will advise customers the likely dates for final delivery of affected cargo to final destination.
In the meantime MSC deeply regrets the delays in delivery of its customer’s cargo and assures customers that it is taking all reasonable steps to secure release and delivery of cargo not bound for Guinea. If specific advice is required in relation to particular containers please advise local MSC agents.
Issued by MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A.