Irish Revenue officers boarded and searched a Maltese registered bulk cargo vessel that had arrived from Canada in the Port of Foynes, Co Limerick on Tuesday evening, December 19.

Revenue officers identified and later seized approximately 300kg of cocaine with an estimated value of €21 million, An Garda Síochána said in a statement on Wednesday.

Revenue officers, including specialist search teams, supported by drug detector dogs, are continuing to search the vessel as part of a live and ongoing operation.

An Garda Síochána attended on scene on Tuesday evening and are working closely with Revenue officers in this operation.

The Garda Investigation is being led by the Limerick Division Crime Functional Area, supported by Divisional Resources, Regional Armed Support Unit, National Units including the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) and International agencies, including MAOC(N).

This seizure is part of Revenue’s ongoing operations targeting the importation of illegal drugs. If businesses or members of the public have any information regarding drug smuggling, they can contact Revenue in confidence on Confidential Phone Number 1800 295 295.

No arrests have been made as of Wednesday morning and investigations are ongoing. 

According to RTÉ News, the drugs were discovered on the MV Verila, a Maltese-registered cargo ship that had arrived in Foynes from Montreal.

The cocaine was hidden in a bale which had a buoyancy aid and a beacon attached, a method used by maritime traffickers that allows the drugs to be thrown overboard and picked up by a so-called 'daughtership.'

Tuesday's drug bust in Co Limerick comes not long after authorities made "the largest drug seizure in the history of the State" when cocaine valued at €157 million was seized from the MV MATTHEW, a Panamanian registered bulk cargo vessel originating in South America, off the Irish coast.

More recently, An Garda Síochána said on December 18 that a man in his 50s was arrested following a seizure of cocaine with an estimated value of €876,000 by Revenue Officers at Rosslare Europort on Saturday, December 16.

Meanwhile, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said on Friday, December 15 that it had seized an estimated £10 million of suspected Class A drugs in South Armagh on December 11.

The PSNI said it was "the largest seizure of suspected cocaine in Northern Ireland."

A man in his 30s was arrested but has since been released on police bail.