A “significant quantity of controlled drugs” has been found onboard a container ship off the Cork coast.
Army Rangers boarded and took control of the bulk cargo carrier off the coast of Ballycotton this afternoon with assistance from Gardaí, Revenue Customs Service and the Naval Service.
The Panamanian-registered bulk cargo vessel originated from South America on August 18th, but it is not yet clear where it has been since.
Gardaí said three men, aged 60, 50 and 31, have been arrested on suspicion of organised crime and are currently detained at Garda stations in Wexford.
The cargo vessel will undergo a detailed examination by Revenue Customs and An Garda Síochána.
This discovery comes as Gardaí continue to look into a trawler believed to have been trying to smuggle 10s of millions of euros worth of cocaine when it ran aground off the Wexford coast on Sunday night.
Irish Times Southern Correspondent Barry Roche said it could be days before the full extent of the operation comes to light.
“It’s a 190-metre-long ship [on the Cork coast] – that's twice the size of a rugby pitch,” he said.
“I’m not sure how many containers it could carry but that’s a huge number of containers to be examined.
"We could be talking days before anything is established, if there’s anything on board.”