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Drug Couriers: Victims with consent and the Menace that Drug syndicates spread to the World

Updated on February 9, 2013

Alleged drug courier nabbed at port c/o TheABSCBNNews

Vulnerabilities of Filipina OFWs

Drug Couriers proliferate in Asia; Filipino overseas workers are the No. 1 target of drug syndicate to transport the contraband.

It was a hush-hush onboard ship ten years ago. Whenever a merchant ship discharges cargo or load commercial goods in mainland China, expect that some seafarers will be lured to transport drugs (as in shabu or poor man’s cocaine, heroin). Some escaped the hands of international law but more of these sailors were convicted of drug trafficking. Some even claimed their lives, taking suicide, in order to evade the punishment and the shame it will give back home.

For the past years, drug warning or advisory became part of our pre-departure orientation seminar (PDOS). The shipping company which I presently work for dramatized the incident involving some of the sailors (names withheld) who committed the crime. The company never tolerates such wrongdoing. They even campaign for whistleblowers that can help eradicate such act.

Shipping companies and other overseas contract workers is often the target of these drug syndicates. And mostly, it came from Third-World countries, like Philippines. Since most of these workers are in need of additional money due to the demand of their families, most of them are convinced to act as couriers of contraband, like prohibited drugs.

Now that the news on drug couriers is escalating, it caught my attention and decided to break my silence. As more and more OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) are being convicted on drug crime, the punishments range from lethal injection (not firing squad) and life imprisonment in China. The High Court of the communist country recently sentenced 6 Filipinos (most of them are females) to undergo such punishments on February 21st this year.It was postponed but it will still be executed in due time.

SBC Seychelles: Arrest of Pakistani Drug Courier 04-07-09 c/o SBCSeychelles

Commercial ship used as drug courier

 When I say drug courier, it doesn't only mean that  it pertains to persons. In the shipping world, a ship can also be a drug courier. We call it a 'hot' ship.

An underwater survey or inspection should be conducted before and after the loading and discharging of a particular ship. More often than not, before departure, everyone are busy for the last checking or inspection on board ship. The frogmen are usually left with only one watch ( sailor attending the procedure). The usual procedure is that two watchmen should be present. Still, the soldering of those ' hot boxes' containing illegal drugs (usually heroin) are still the main problem of shipowners and ship personnel who must pay huge amount of money for drug violations.

We're still wondering why such illicit act still escape the scrutinizing eyes of the watchmen. Unless, there's an insider who is in connivance with the international drug syndicate.

The photos you are about to see were an actual shots of the ship owned and managed by Wallem Philippines which became a victim of this unscrupulous operation of the drug ring. I formally requested for the publication of this sensitive document. I may hide the name of my friend-photographer but the reality of the danger when one sailor becomes involved with the tactics of the syndicates is very much apparent. It cannot escape the hands of the law.

I have many stories to tell regarding the subject. I'm still contemplating if I have to tell it all. Or I'll be the target of this drug group.

Drug Couriers: Book and Confession

Self-confessed drug couriers are surfacing and confessing what they've done to make drug rings proliferate around the world. Some even serve as assets to the police authorities in order to bust or stop its illegal activities. Lives are at stake when you want to get out of the drug trail. Your family will be endanger but the truth will always set you free. (Please read this book about the confession of a drug courier whose life was changed when he went out of his illegal activities.)

'Hot' ship nabbed at Istanbul, Turkey (Year 2008)

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Drug Courier: A Seaman's Tale

An engine cadet committed suicide!!!

This was the highlighted message on our monthly news dispacth way back 2007. It happened in the other principal shipping of my agency (Wallem Philippines). It created a buzz in every ship being manned by the company.

After my contract, as we underwent another pre-departure orientation seminar (PDOS) and while we're completing our papers for a new contract, it was being played repeatedly on the TV monitor at the reception room of the crewing department.

We found out that the Filipino boatswain was the culprit and been cashing illegal money in his account with the connivance of the first-timer engine cadet. The ship discharged cargo in China and was a liner in Latin America (Colombia) and Europe (Spain). The drug trail ended in Spain when port authorities conducted a drug search onboard ship based from the initial information by the interpol (international police).

The succeeding scenes were hazy but ended on the suicide of the engine cadet and the conviction of the bosun inside the jail in Spain. The president of the Wallem shipping in the Philippines came to the rescue but they can never save the life of the slain sailor.

Similar incidents happened in other shipping companies. While we're in Maracaibo, Venezuela, there's a ship being held for 6 months because of drug problem. The crew's provision can no longer sustain their dietary needs and had to rely on fishermen's catch.

Drug syndicates have many contacts in strategic parts in the world. We usually assume that when there is available port in every country, it is possible that drug mules are waiting to lure overseas workers to act as carrier of prohibited drugs to transport the contrabando.

One sailor, who retold his experience with this drug ring, opened up to me about his story.  Going out or escaping their punishment can cost their lives. Luckily, his inviolvement was not yet that serious and he always keep a low profile and concentrated more on his work for his family.

The lure of money versus your life. It's up for you to choose wisely


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    • thesailor profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Seven Seas

      Thank you for revealing it to me, anonymous. Why would most of us in our field just ignore such fate of some sailors?

      For me, I will not envy his fortune, because it's just tangible things that he can enjoy in just a snap of his hands.

      The deeper part in that, and probably the most serious, is the warning of his conscience.

      He'll be accountable of what he did in the eyes of the Lord.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I know of a sailor who became ultra rich at the age of 22. He nor his family members did not win the lottery either. But i'm scared to blow things up. My life might be at stake.

    • thesailor profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Seven Seas

      Thanks, Dr. Ope. It's my duty to share in every way I can the menace these illegal drugs bring in the society.

    • Dr.Ope profile image

      Olive Ellis 

      7 years ago

      Interesting. These persons involved in the drug business need to be exposed as they are ruining the lives of millions of people, especially young people. Good work, keep sharing. I will be following.

    • thesailor profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Seven Seas

      Thanks for believing. I'll continue sharing what I've known for long about seafaring industry and things that affect it badly.

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 

      7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      This is a very sensitive issue, sailor, yet you still manage to publish it. I always believe in the truth and HubPages allows us to share it here. Keep on going.


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